Sex Differences in Muscle Wasting

  • Lindsey J. Anderson
  • Haiming Liu
  • Jose M. Garcia
Chapter
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 1043)

Abstract

With aging and other muscle wasting diseases, men and women undergo similar pathological changes in skeletal muscle: increased inflammation, enhanced oxidative stress, mitochondrial dysfunction, satellite cell senescence, elevated apoptosis and proteasome activity, and suppressed protein synthesis and myocyte regeneration. Decreased food intake and physical activity also indirectly contribute to muscle wasting. Sex hormones also play important roles in maintaining skeletal muscle homeostasis. Testosterone is a potent anabolic factor promoting muscle protein synthesis and muscular regeneration. Estrogens have a protective effect on skeletal muscle by attenuating inflammation; however, the mechanisms of estrogen action in skeletal muscle are less well characterized than those of testosterone. Age- and/or disease-induced alterations in sex hormones are major contributors to muscle wasting. Hence, men and women may respond differently to catabolic conditions because of their hormonal profiles. Here we review the similarities and differences between men and women with common wasting conditions including sarcopenia and cachexia due to cancer, end-stage renal disease/chronic kidney disease, liver disease, chronic heart failure, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease based on the literature in clinical studies. In addition, the responses in men and women to the commonly used therapeutic agents and their efficacy to improve muscle mass and function are also reviewed.

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lindsey J. Anderson
    • 1
  • Haiming Liu
    • 1
  • Jose M. Garcia
    • 1
  1. 1.Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center (GRECC), VA Puget Sound Health Care System, and Department of Medicine, Division of Gerontology & Geriatric Medicine, University of Washington School of MedicineSeattleUSA

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