Sestrins are differentially expressed with age in the skeletal muscle of men: A cross-sectional analysis

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Abstract

A gradual loss of skeletal muscle mass is a common feature of aging, leading to impaired insulin sensitivity and mobility. Sestrin1, 2, 3 are multifunctional proteins that regulate the mammalian target of rapamycin complex (mTORC1), autophagy and redox homeostasis. It is unclear how aging affects Sestrins and their downstream targets in human, therefore this study examined the basal expression of Sestrins in three age groups, young, middle-aged and older men and explored the mTORC1 pathway, autophagy markers and antioxidant regulation. Older men had less Sestrin1 and 3 protein and a different pattern of Sestrin2 electrophoretic mobility. The mRNA expression of SESN1 was upregulated in older men, but the discrepancy was not by microRNA expression. Although protein expressions of Sestrins were downregulated with aging, phosphorylation of AMP-dependent protein kinase (AMPKαThr172) and read-outs of mTORC1 activation, ribosomal protein S6 kinase 1 (p70S6K1Thr421/Ser424) and 4E-binding protein 1 (4E-BP1) mobility shift were unaltered. However, total p70S6K1 and 4E-BP1 were reduced in middle-aged and older men. The mRNA expressions of autophagic markers including microtubule-associated protein 1 light chain 3 (LC3) and BCL2 interacting protein 3 (BNIP3) were upregulated in middle-aged and older men. Although nuclear factor (erythroid-derived 2)-like 2 (Nrf2) was upregulated in older men, the protein and mRNA expressions of its downstream antioxidants were either increased, decreased or unaltered. No clear relationship was observed between Sestrins and their downstream targets, yet it can be concluded that Sestrins proteins are clearly downregulated with aging.

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