Counteracting muscle wasting in aging and neuromuscular diseases: the critical role of IGF-1


Most muscle pathologies are characterized by the progressive loss of muscle tissue due to chronic degeneration combined with the inability of regeneration machinery to replace the damaged muscle. These pathological changes, known as muscle wasting, can be attributed to the activation of several proteolytic systems, such as calpain, ubiquitin-proteasome and caspases, and to the alteration in muscle growth factors. Among them, insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) has been implicated in the control of skeletal muscle growth, differentiation, survival, and regeneration and has been considered a promising therapeutic agent in staving off the advance of muscle weakness. Here we review the molecular basis of muscle wasting associated with diseases, such as sarcopenia, muscular dystrophy and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, and discuss the potential therapeutic role of local IGF-1 isoforms in muscle aging and diseases.

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