Skeletal muscle as potential central link between sarcopenia and immune senescence

EBioMedicine. 2019 Nov:49:381-388. doi: 10.1016/j.ebiom.2019.10.034. Epub 2019 Oct 26.


As our population grows older, age-related pathologies are becoming more prevalent. Deterioration of skeletal muscle and the immune system manifests as sarcopenia and immune senescence respectively. The disease burden of these pathologies emphasizes the need for a better understanding of the underlying mechanisms. Skeletal muscle has emerged as a potent regulator of immune system function. As such, skeletal muscle might be the central integrator between sarcopenia and immune senescence in an aging biological system. Therapeutic approaches targeting skeletal muscle might be able to restore both muscle and immune system function. In this review, we therefore outline the current - however still fragmentary - knowledge about the potential communication pathways of muscle and immune system, how they are affected by aging of skeletal muscle and discuss possible treatment strategies. The review intends to be hypothesis-generating and should thereby stimulate further research in this important scientific field.

Keywords: IL-15; IL-6, IL-7; Immune senescence; Myokines; Sarcopenia; Skeletal muscle.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aging / immunology*
  • Cell Communication / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immune System / pathology*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / pathology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Sarcopenia / pathology*