The impact of sarcopenia and exercise training on skeletal muscle satellite cells.

T. Snijders, L.B. Verdijk, L.J. van Loon*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


    It has been well established that the age-related loss of muscle mass and strength, or sarcopenia, impairs skeletal muscle function and reduces functional performance at a more advanced age. Skeletal muscle satellite cells (SC), as precursors of new myonuclei, have been suggested to be involved in the development of sarcopenia. In accordance with the type II muscle fiber atrophy observed in the elderly, recent studies report a concomitant fiber type specific reduction in SC content. Resistance type exercise interventions have proven effective to augment skeletal muscle mass and improve muscle function in the elderly. In accordance, recent work shows that resistance type exercise training can augment type II muscle fiber size and reverse the age-related decline in SC content. The latter is supported by an increase in SC activation and proliferation factors that generally appear following exercise training. Present findings strongly suggest that the skeletal muscle SC control myogenesis and have an important, but yet unresolved, function in the loss of muscle mass with aging. This review discusses the contribution of skeletal muscle SC in the age-related loss of muscle mass and the efficacy of exercise training as a means to attenuate and/or reverse this process.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)328-338
    JournalAgeing Research Reviews
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2009


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