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Greater loss of mitochondrial function with ageing is associated with earlier onset of sarcopenia in C. elegans

Gaffney, Christopher J.; Pollard, Amelia; Barratt, Thomas F.; Constantin-Teodosiu, Dumitru; Greenhaff, Paul L.; Szewczyk, Nathaniel J.


Christopher J. Gaffney

Amelia Pollard

Thomas F. Barratt

Dumitru Constantin-Teodosiu

Nathaniel J. Szewczyk


Sarcopenia, the age-related decline of muscle, is a significant and growing public health burden. C. elegans, a model organism for investigating the mechanisms of ageing, also displays sarcopenia, but the underlying mechanism(s) remain elusive. Here, we use C. elegans natural scaling of lifespan in response to temperature to examine the relationship between mitochondrial content, mitochondrial function, and sarcopenia. Mitochondrial content and maximal mitochondrial ATP production rates (MAPR) display an inverse relationship to lifespan, while onset of MAPR decline displays a direct relationship. Muscle mitochondrial structure, sarcomere structure, and movement decline also display a direct relationship with longevity. Notably, the decline in mitochondrial network structure occurs earlier than sarcomere decline, and correlates more strongly with loss of movement, and scales with lifespan. These results suggest that mitochondrial function is critical in the ageing process and more robustly explains the onset and progression of sarcopenia than loss of sarcomere structure.


Gaffney, C. J., Pollard, A., Barratt, T. F., Constantin-Teodosiu, D., Greenhaff, P. L., & Szewczyk, N. J. (2018). Greater loss of mitochondrial function with ageing is associated with earlier onset of sarcopenia in C. elegans. Aging, 10(11), 3382-3396.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 15, 2018
Online Publication Date Nov 19, 2018
Publication Date Nov 19, 2018
Deposit Date Nov 29, 2018
Publicly Available Date Nov 29, 2018
Journal Aging
Electronic ISSN 1945-4589
Publisher Impact Journals
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 10
Issue 11
Pages 3382-3396
Keywords Sarcopenia; Ageing; Muscle, C. elegans; Mitochondria; ATP production; Sarcomere
Public URL
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