Research Article: The Extract of Ginkgo biloba EGb 761 Reactivates a Juvenile Profile in the Skeletal Muscle of Sarcopenic Rats by Transcriptional Reprogramming

Date Published: November 24, 2009

Publisher: Public Library of Science

Author(s): Caroline Bidon, Joël Lachuer, Jordi Molgó, Anne Wierinckx, Sabine de la Porte, Bernadette Pignol, Yves Christen, Rolando Meloni, Herbert Koenig, Nicole Faucon Biguet, Jacques Mallet, Jose Vina.

Abstract: Sarcopenia is a major public health problem in industrialized nations, placing an increasing burden on public healthcare systems because the loss of skeletal muscle mass and strength that characterizes this affection increases the dependence and the risk of injury caused by sudden falls in elderly people. Albeit exercise and caloric restriction improve sarcopenia-associated decline of the muscular performances, a more suitable and focused pharmacological treatment is still lacking.

Partial Text: Sarcopenia, a term coined by Rosenberg [1], is the major feature of the age-related decline in neuromuscular performances and is characterized by the loss of skeletal muscle mass as well as strength [2]. These morphological and functional modifications result from intrinsic events, such as changes in the muscle fiber type composition, mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative damage, and from extrinsic factors including reduced physical activity and excessive and/or unbalanced nutritional intake [3]. Exercise and caloric restriction (CR), known to slow down the impairment of the aged muscle performances [4], are difficult to manage while a more specific pharmacological treatment for sarcopenia that would be more suitable for elderly people is still lacking.

Sarcopenia is a major public health problem in industrialized nations, placing an increasing burden on public healthcare systems. The progressive loss of muscle mass associated with advancing age that is characterized by the slowing of movement and a gradual decline in muscle strength, increase dependence and the risk of injury from sudden falls in elderly people. Although caloric restriction and physical exercise have been shown to be effective treatments for sarcopenia, their effect is limited to slowing down the progressive loss of muscle mass and functions and their implementation is problematic in elderly people. Therefore, drug treatments appear to be more appropriate for sarcopenia, albeit, until now, no pharmacological therapy has been reported apart from the suggestion that leucine-rich dietary components may help the elderly to preserve muscle mass [10]. However, since the ageing process manifests itself with similar features in different tissues, it has been suggested that drugs for age-related neurodegenerative diseases may also be beneficial for sarcopenia [5]. In this context, EGb 761(IPSEN), an extract of Ginkgo biloba, has been shown to extend life span of caenorhabditis elegans[11] and to enhance learning and longevity in rats [12]. Also, in vivo and in vitro experiments have demonstrated the efficacy of EGb 761 in protecting against age-related processes such as increase of oxidative stress, brain mitochondrial dysfunction [9] and chronic age-dependent neurological disorders [6], [7]. Here, we demonstrate that EGb 761 improves muscle performances, as assessed by electrophysiological studies, and, quite remarkably, restores a “juvenile” profile in the soleus muscle of old rats by modulating the transcriptional expression of genes implicated in development/regeneration and energy production pathways.



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