Ceramides are key to muscle health as we age
As humans age, mice also become less active and lose strength and muscle mass. Johan Auwerx, a team of EPFL scientists, has discovered that as mice age their muscles become ceramide-rich. Ceramides are fat molecules used in skin care products. They are also sphingolipids.
Researchers found that aging leads to an overabundance of proteins SPT and other, which are all needed to convert amino acids and fatty acids into ceramides. The sphingolipids, which are a complex but very interesting fat, can be studied further to understand their role in ageing.
The scientists then wanted to determine if reducing the ceramide overload could help prevent age-related muscle dysfunction. The scientists treated the mice with ceramide-blockers such as myriocin or synthetic blocker Takeda-2 and used adenoassociated viruses to specifically block ceramide production in the muscle. The ceramide blocks prevented the loss of muscle mass in old mice, improved their coordination, and made them stronger.