Editors' ChoiceAging

A Muscular Fountain of Youth

Science's STKE  02 Dec 2003:
Vol. 2003, Issue 211, pp. tw470
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2112003tw470

When muscle fibers are injured, skeletal muscle precursor cells proliferate and differentiate to regenerate and repair the injured muscle. The ability to regenerate skeletal muscle decreases with age, and Notch signaling is necessary for normal adult muscle repair. Conboy et al. now show that Notch also functions in the age-related decline in mouse skeletal muscle regeneration. Old and young muscles had equivalent numbers of muscle precursor cells, but cells from older mice were less able to induce the Notch ligand, Delta, and to activate Notch signaling in response to muscle injury. Forced activation of Notch-1 restored the regenerative potential of old muscle, whereas inhibition of Notch-1 impaired regeneration of young muscle.

I. M. Conboy, M. J. Conboy, G. M. Smythe, T. A. Rando, Notch-mediated restoration of regenerative potential to aged muscle. Science 302, 1575-1577 (2003). [Abstract] [Full Text]