Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Fat Molecule Ceramide May Factor in Muscle Loss in Older Adults

Research Suggests Interference with Muscle Response to Resistance Exercise

As men and women age, increasing quantities of fat tissue inevitably take up residence in skeletal muscle. A small study of older and younger men conducted at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (USDA HNRCA) at Tufts University suggests that a build-up of a fat molecule known as ceramide might play a leading role in muscle deterioration in older adults.

The results of the study were published online this month by the Journal of Applied Physiology, a publication of the American Physiological Society.

The study enrolled 10 men in their mid-seventies and nine men in their early twenties. None of the men carried excess weight or had chronic health problems and none had exercised in six months. Ceramide was measured in a muscle biopsy taken at baseline. The participants performed a single bout of exercise (three sets of ten repetitions of knee extensions and leg presses) followed by two muscle biopsies which the authors used to examine how the exercise impacted muscle growth response.

“There is a known relationship between elevated ceramide levels and unhealthy muscle in obese adults, but to the best of our knowledge, this had not been studied in healthy weight, older adults,” said Donato Rivas, Ph.D., the study’s first author and a scientist in the Nutrition, Exercise Physiology and Sarcopenia Laboratory at the USDA HNRCA at Tufts University. “Our analysis of the muscle biopsies showed an accumulation of two types of ceramide molecules containing saturated fatty acids that were 156% and 30% higher in the older men. Furthermore, having higher accumulation of one of these saturated fatty acid types was associated with having less leg muscle mass in both younger and older men.”

“Although it is well known that fat tissue replaces some of our muscle tissue as we grow older, we are seeking to understand whether some fat molecules are more damaging to muscle than others,” said Roger A. Fielding, Ph.D., senior author and director of the Nutrition, Exercise Physiology and Sarcopenia Laboratory. “We suspect that the increased storage of ceramide we saw in the older men, exacerbated by the presence of saturated fat, has a part in weakening the anabolic signaling that responds to resistance exercises and helps with the assembly of new muscle.”

Learning more about ceramide activity through larger, long-term interventional trials involving older and younger men and women may identify a role in dietary or therapeutic drug interventions for sarcopenia, an age-related condition of muscle loss and function.

“The deterioration of muscle is compounded by a loss of muscle strength, which really begins to decline around age 50 and appears to be a factor in the visible decrease in mobility people exhibit around age 80,” added Fielding, who is also a professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University and at Tufts University School of Medicine. “Previous research done at Tufts and other institutions suggests that even with limited exercise older adults can maintain and build some new muscle. Until there is enough research to develop specific exercise and dietary interventions, staying as physically active as deemed safe by your health care provider can only benefit aging muscle.”

This study was supported by the Agriculture Research Service (ARS) of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Boston Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center.

Rivas DA, Morris EP, Haran PH, Pasha EP, da Silva Morais, M, Dolnikowsi GG, Phillips EM, Fielding RA “Increased ceramide content and NF 1 êB signaling may contribute to the attenuation of anabolic2 signaling after resistance exercise in aged males.” Published online October 4, 2012. doi:10.1152/japplphysiol.00412.2012.

The Gerald J. and Dorothy R. Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University is the only independent school of nutrition in the United States. The school's eight degree programs, which focus on questions relating to famine, hunger, poverty, and communications, are renowned for the application of scientific research to national and international policy. For three decades, the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University has studied the relationship between good nutrition and good health in aging populations. Tufts research scientists work with federal agencies to establish the USDA Dietary Guidelines, the Dietary Reference Intakes, and other significant public policies.

Andrea Grossman | Newswise Science News
Further information:

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Advanced analysis of brain structure shape may track progression to Alzheimer's disease
26.10.2016 | Massachusetts General Hospital

nachricht Indian roadside refuse fires produce toxic rainbow
26.10.2016 | Duke University

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Novel light sources made of 2D materials

Physicists from the University of Würzburg have designed a light source that emits photon pairs. Two-photon sources are particularly well suited for tap-proof data encryption. The experiment's key ingredients: a semiconductor crystal and some sticky tape.

So-called monolayers are at the heart of the research activities. These "super materials" (as the prestigious science magazine "Nature" puts it) have been...

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Prototype device for measuring graphene-based electromagnetic radiation created

28.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Gamma ray camera offers new view on ultra-high energy electrons in plasma

28.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

When fat cells change their colour

28.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>