Bianca Maria Scicchitano* and Gigliola Sica Pages 673 - 680 ( 8 )
Aging is a multifactorial process characterized by several features including low-grade inflammation, increased oxidative stress and reduced regenerative capacity, which ultimately lead to alteration in morpho-functional properties of skeletal muscle, thus promoting sarcopenia. This condition is characterized by a gradual loss of muscle mass due to an unbalance between protein synthesis and degradation, finally conveying in functional decline and disability. The development of specific therapeutic approaches able to block or reverse this condition may represent an invaluable tool for the promotion of a healthy aging among elderly people. It is well established that changes in the quantity and the quality of dietary proteins, as well as the intake of specific amino acids, are able to counteract some of the physiopathological processes related to the progression of the loss of muscle mass and may have beneficial effects in improving the anabolic response of muscle in the elderly. Taurine is a non-essential amino acid expressed in high concentration in several mammalian tissues and particularly in skeletal muscle where it is involved in the modulation of intracellular calcium concentration and ion channel regulation and where it also acts as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory factor. The aim of this review is to summarize the pleiotropic effects of taurine on specific muscle targets and to discuss its role in regulating signaling pathways involved in the maintenance of muscle homeostasis. We also highlight the potential use of taurine as a therapeutic molecule for the amelioration of skeletal muscle function and performance severely compromised during aging.
Taurine, sarcopenia, nutrition, amino acids, oxidative stress, inflammation, protein catabolism.
Istituto di Istologia ed Embriologia, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Fondazione Policlinico Universitario Agostino Gemelli, Largo Francesco Vito 1-00168, Roma, Istituto di Istologia ed Embriologia, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Fondazione Policlinico Universitario Agostino Gemelli, Largo Francesco Vito 1-00168, Roma