Frontiers in sarcopenia: Advancements in diagnostics, molecular mechanisms, and therapeutic strategies

Mol Aspects Med. 2024 Apr 6:97:101270. doi: 10.1016/j.mam.2024.101270. Online ahead of print.


The onset of sarcopenia is intimately linked with aging, posing significant implications not only for individual patient quality of life but also for the broader societal healthcare framework. Early and accurate identification of sarcopenia and a comprehensive understanding of its mechanistic underpinnings and therapeutic targets paramount to addressing this condition effectively. This review endeavors to present a cohesive overview of recent advancements in sarcopenia research and diagnosis. We initially delve into the contemporary diagnostic criteria, specifically referencing the European Working Group on Sarcopenia in Older People (EWGSOP) 2 and Asian Working Group on Sarcopenia (AWGS) 2019 benchmarks. Additionally, we elucidate comprehensive assessment techniques for muscle strength, quantity, and physical performance, highlighting tools such as grip strength, chair stand test, dual-energy X-ray Absorptiometry (DEXA), bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA), gait speed, and short physical performance battery (SPPB), while also discussing their inherent advantages and limitations. Such diagnostic advancements pave the way for early identification and unequivocal diagnosis of sarcopenia. Proceeding further, we provide a deep-dive into sarcopenia's pathogenesis, offering a thorough examination of associated signaling pathways like the Myostatin, AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), insulin/IGF-1 Signaling (IIS), and the nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells (NF-κB) pathways. Each pathway's role in sarcopenia mediation is detailed, underscoring potential therapeutic target avenues. From a mechanistic perspective, the review also underscores the pivotal role of mitochondrial dysfunction in sarcopenia, emphasizing elements such as mitochondrial oxidative overload, mitochondrial biogenesis, and mitophagy, and highlighting their therapeutic significance. At last, we capture recent strides made in sarcopenia treatment, ranging from nutritional and exercise interventions to potential pharmacological and supplementation strategies. In sum, this review meticulously synthesizes the latest scientific developments in sarcopenia, aiming to enhance diagnostic precision in clinical practice and provide comprehensive insights into refined mechanistic targets and innovative therapeutic interventions, ultimately contributing to optimized patient care and advancements in the field.

Keywords: AWGS; Aging; EWGSOP; Frailty; Mitochondrial dysfunction; Sarcopenia; Signaling pathway; Treatment coordination.

Publication types

  • Review