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UMKC Researchers Make Discovery in Muscle Aging

By Elana Gordon


Kansas City, MO – Scientists have known for some time that as people age, their skeletal muscles become smaller and weaker. But a group of researchers at UMKC say that calcium absorption may be a key part of what causes that muscle deterioration. Their recent findings are being published in the Journal, Aging Cell. Lead researcher, Dr. Marco Brotto, says calcium is needed in order for muscles to contract properly. But he says the group's research on mice shows that even when there's plenty of calcium available, aged muscle cells may not be able to absorb it.

Brotto: It's like, in the muscle cells we have these gates. And they have to open or to close to allow calcium to go inside. So we still have enough calcium outside the cell, but the gate now is closed.

Dr. Brotto says he's now collaborating with researchers from the Mid America Heart Institute to further examine that absorption process in humans. The recent study received funding from the American heart association, UMKC, and the National Institute on Aging.

Funding for health care coverage on KCUR has been provided by the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City.

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