With advancing age, skeletal muscle function declines as a result of strength loss. These strength deficits are largely due to reductions in muscle size (i.e., quantity) and its intrinsic force-producing capacity (i.e., quality). Age-induced reductions in skeletal muscle quantity and quality can be the consequence of several factors, including accumulation of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species (ROS/RNS), also known as oxidative stress. Therefore, the purpose of this mini-review is to highlight the published literature that has demonstrated links between aging, oxidative stress, and skeletal muscle quantity or quality. In particular, we focused on how oxidative stress has the potential to reduce muscle quantity by shifting protein balance in a deficit, and muscle quality by impairing activation at the neuromuscular junction, excitation-contraction (EC) coupling at the ryanodine receptor (RyR), and crossbridge cycling within the myofibrillar apparatus. Of these, muscle weakness due to EC coupling failure mediated by RyR dysfunction via oxidation and/or nitrosylation appears to be the strongest candidate based on the publications reviewed. However, it is clear that age-Associated oxidative stress has the ability to alter strength through several mechanisms and at various locations of the muscle fiber.
- Reactive Oxygen Species