Skeletal muscle maintenance and atrophy
Skeletal muscle comprises approximately 40% of the total body mass; it is therefore the most abundant tissue in the body and one of the main components of the locomotor apparatus. Skeletal muscle is a dynamic tissue which maintains key functions such as body movement, breathing and glucose homeostasis. The muscle tissue is a very plastic organ that undergoes massive changes by alternating physiological and pathological conditions.
In several pathological conditions including different types of cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, sepsis, diabetes, chronic heart and kidney diseases and also during normal aging the muscle loses its mass and strength in a process known as atrophy or muscle wasting. Loss of muscle mass is a major reason for low quality of life and reduced life span. Therefore, it is necessary to develop clinical interventions to prevent loss of muscle mass and strength in those diseases. In our laboratory we investigate molecules and signaling pathways that are involved in the different metabolic changes leading to muscle atrophy. We anticipate that identification of new signaling molecules will enable new treatments for preventing this major health problem.