Invertebrate models of age-related muscle degeneration

Biochim Biophys Acta. 2009 Oct;1790(10):1084-94. doi: 10.1016/j.bbagen.2009.06.011. Epub 2009 Jun 27.


Functional and structural deterioration of muscles is an inevitable consequence of ageing in a wide variety of animal species. What underlies these changes is a complex network of interactions between the muscle-intrinsic and muscle-extrinsic factors, making it very difficult to distinguish between the cause and the consequence. Many of the genes, structures, and processes implicated in mammalian skeletal muscle ageing are preserved in invertebrate species Drosophila melanogaster and Caenorhabditis elegans. The absence in these organisms of mechanisms that promote muscle regeneration, and substantially different hormonal environment, warrant caution when extrapolating experimental data from studies conducted in invertebrates to mammalian species. The simplicity and accessibility of these models, however, offer ample opportunities for studying age-related myopathologies as well as investigating drugs and therapies to alleviate them.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aging / genetics
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / genetics
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / physiology*
  • DNA, Mitochondrial / genetics
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics
  • Drosophila melanogaster / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiopathology*
  • Muscular Atrophy / genetics
  • Muscular Atrophy / physiopathology
  • Mutation


  • DNA, Mitochondrial