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Biomedicine and Molecular Biology

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Establishing the relationship between oxidative stress and loss of muscle mass

Researchers from the Institut Municipal d’Investigació Mèdica (IMIM-Hospital del Mar) have shown the relationship between oxidative cellular stress and loss of muscle mass that occurs at the final stage of some diseases, such as cancer. According to their final hypothesis, oxidative stress increases the susceptibility of degradation of proteins. It is the first time we have conducted a comparative experimental study between different muscles of the limbs and myocardium in animals with cachexia cancer.

Staff | 9 March 2010

The mechanisms that lead to cachexia are still unknown. This is one of the most frequent systemic disorders in the final phase of some serious diseases, and which is manifested by loss of muscle mass due to the degradation of structural proteins that make up this tissue. All this leads to a state of muscle atrophy, weakness and fatigue of the patients.

The researchers at the IMIM-Hospital del Mar and the Faculty of Biology, University of Barcelona (UB) have developed a comprehensive experimental work on cancer cachexia in an animal model. They have studied the nature of the oxidative changes produced in different muscles (peripherals of different fibril and composition) as well as the scope of these modifications.

The study has shown that oxidative stress (imbalance of the oxidant production and antioxidant in cells) is probably involved in the smaller size of rapid muscle fibres type II to muscles of the limbs, especially gastrocnemius muscle. Oxidative stress may be partly responsible for the deterioration and ageing of the cell, and may damage various cellular structures such as DNA, even inducing possible mutations; the lipids and proteins, contributing to its inactivation and increased degradation.

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