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Correct mitochondrial function prevents sarcopenia

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Correct mitochondrial function prevents muscle loss during aging

A growing number of studies indicate that this form of muscle atrophy [sarcopenia] is related to chronic inflammation, but when and why does this inflammation occur?

[The researchers] have discovered that the inflammatory process that causes muscle atrophy is associated with the accumulation of damaged mitochondria in cells. They have also described how the increase in the levels of BNIP3, a protein related to the clearance of damaged mitochondria, is linked to better muscle aging.

If BNIP3 levels are low at advanced ages, more damaged mitochondria accumulate and this triggers inflammatory processes, which in turn cause muscle atrophy

 As mitochondria age and no longer function properly, the body regularly removes or "recycles" them through a process known as mitophagy.

As we age, this process becomes less efficient, and defective mitochondria tend to accumulate. The authors consider that this is compensated by an increase in BNIP3 levels, which stimulate mitophagy. 

Future laboratory work will focus on the search for blood biomarkers associated with high levels of BNIP3, thus facilitating less invasive analyses, and also on understanding what determines high and low BNIP3 levels

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