Article Title: Muscle damage recovery. This image shows an elderly woman walking along a patterned pavement. She is using a stick and is slightly hunched. She is wearing a purple jacket, blue jeans, sandals and a hat. She has a dark handbag slung across her back. To he side of her are tall rectangular windows that look like mirrors.

Muscle Damage Recovery

The study may help to shed some light on why muscle damage recovery takes longer when we are older.

Researchers from Nottingham Trent University have discovered that muscle cells deteriorate with age. This subsequently affects their regenerative ability and recovery after injury.

The researchers analysed the genes inside muscle cells. They found that the “development pathways,” become weakened in older cells. These pathways are the ways in which genes work together to regenerate muscle

Lead researcher Dr Santos  said “This helps explain why muscle injures may take longer to recover from as we age”.  Dr Santos is an expert in musculoskeletal biology at the University’s School of Science and Technology.

She said: “We know that healthy muscle regenerates after we’ve had an injury. However ageing impairs that regeneration potential. This makes recovery harder the older we get. The activity we’ve seen inside the cells helps us understand why we don’t heal as well or quickly when older.

The researchers developed a new approach by observing the different mechanisms that drive muscle ageing. They studied muscle cells from donors and assessed how they healed and regenerated. This was after they had been chemically injured.

Neural Pathways

The pathways that control cell processes and development work differently in older cells. They are found to be down-regulated. This means regeneration is impacted the older you get. If we can understand these pathways we could potentially identify new therapies and interventions to mitigate the problem

When comparing cells from a 20-year-old donor to cells from a 68-year-old donor, the team found distinct differences in the development pathways. Younger muscle cells fully recovered from the injury, while older cells expressed fewer genes needed for regeneration, leading to reduced regeneration capacity and thinner, less robust muscle fibres.

Janelle Tarum, another researcher involved in the study, highlighted how their work could be crucial for future drug discovery and the treatment of diseases related to muscle aging: “We’ve been able to develop a new approach to assess muscle regeneration which involves a state-of-the-art technique called RNA-sequencing.

“There’s a very clear reduced regeneration capacity and weakened recovery of aged cells and we have been able to further understand the factors underlying this impairment.

“Our work enables us to examine muscle cell regeneration across the lifespan and this in turn could be key for future drug discovery for disease related to muscle ageing.”

The study was published in the Journal of Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine and involved researchers from Manchester Metropolitan University and Liverpool John Moores University.


Award-winning blogger and former care columnist for Devon Life magazine. I am passionate about helping elderly people and people with dementia live purposeful and independent lives.
Designer of the Dementia Assistance Card and Points Of Light award recipient, Caron hopes to help carers when resources are limited and demand is ever-increasing. I am here to support you.


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