Moving Mountains: Recent Feats in Muscle Physiology

Cardiovascular, Muscle Physiology, Publication Review|

As we March towards the 2024 American Physiology Summit, this month’s publication review covers recent advancements in the realm of muscle physiology, including the development of an improved resistance training method, the long-term musculoskeletal consequences of chemotherapy, and the characterization of crossbridge kinetics in cardiac trabeculae. Taken together, these studies reveal a promising trend of breakthroughs in muscle physiology.

Muscle weakness precedes atrophy during cancer cachexia and is linked to muscle-specific mitochondrial stress

Cancer-induced cachexia is a complex syndrome marked by skeletal muscle mass loss, impacting functional independence, quality of life, and cancer treatment outcomes. While muscle wasting has traditionally been attributed to circulating factors, recent research revealing mitochondrial dysfunction preceding the onset of muscle atrophy suggests it may play a role. Understanding the muscle-specific and time-dependent nature of mitochondrial responses to cancer may offer insights for targeted therapeutic interventions to mitigate muscle weakness and wasting in cachexia. This study examines the  relationship between muscle dysfunction and mitochondrial bioenergetics in locomotor and respiratory muscles, revealing diverse responses that underscore the need for tailored approaches to treating muscle complications in cancer cachexia.

  • Cancer Cachexia-Induced Muscle Atrophy

Cancer Cachexia-Induced Muscle Atrophy

Muscle Physiology, Publication Review|

Cancer cachexia is a muscle wasting syndrome that is associated with certain cancers, but most commonly with advanced malignancies. This syndrome arises as a result of tumor-induced metabolic changes, causing the body to break down skeletal muscle and adipose tissue in response to nutritional deficiencies. These changes manifest as severe weight loss, anorexia, asthenia, and anemia, impairing the patient's capacity to tolerate infections, chemotherapy, and radiation treatments (Dhanapal et al., 2022). While research characterizing the multifactorial origins of this syndrome is still ongoing, three recent publications featuring our scientific equipment have made notable advances in the current understanding of this muscle wasting disease, and are discussed in this publication review.

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