Changes in muscle gene expression have been studied via the use of serial analysis of gene expression (SAGE) and both cDNA and oligonucleotide-based microarrays (Giresi et al., 2005; Welle et al., 2000). Both of these techniques examine changes in the transcript abundance of specific genes between groups and use statistical techniques to then identify significant differences. Human studies have examined changes in gene expression between young individuals and older individuals using muscle biopsy specimens (Giresi et al., 2005; Welle et al., 2000). Experimental animals, such as mice and rhesus monkeys, also have been used for comparisons. The inclusion of these animals has allowed the comparison of normal aged animals with similarly aged animals with slowed aging due to dietary restriction (Kayo et al., 2001; Welle et al., 2001).
Numerous gene expression differences have been seen. Several studies have noted a decrease in old age of genes involved in biochemical pathways involved in energy generation such as oxidative phosphorylation and glyco-lysis (Giresi et al., 2005; Kayo et al., 2001; Welle et al., 2000). Genes involved in heat shock responses, inflammation, and DNA damage repair also tend to be increased (Kayo et al., 2001; Welle et al., 2001). Changes in extracellular matrix gene expression have been noted, with specific changes in collagen gene expression (Kayo et al., 2001; Welle et al., 2001). These studies have provided new avenues for future investigation.
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