Age-Related Skeletal Muscle Dysfunction is Aggravated by Obesity: An Investigation of Contractile Function, Implications and Treatment

Jason Tallis, Sharn Shelley, Hans Degens, Cameron Hill

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    20 Citations (Scopus)
    83 Downloads (Pure)


    Obesity is a global epidemic and coupled with the unprecedented growth of the world’s older adult population, a growing number of individuals are both old and obese. Whilst both ageing and obesity are associated with an increased prevalence of chronic health conditions and a substantial economic burden, evidence suggests that the coincident effects exacerbate negative health outcomes. A significant contributor to such detrimental effects may be the reduction in the contractile performance of skeletal muscle, given that poor muscle function is related to chronic disease, poor quality of life and all-cause mortality. Whilst the effects of ageing and obesity independently on skeletal muscle function have been investigated, the combined effects are yet to be thoroughly explored. Given the importance of skeletal muscle to whole-body health and physical function, the present study sought to provide a review of the literature to: (1) summarise the effect of obesity on the age-induced reduction in skeletal muscle contractile function; (2) understand whether obesity effects on skeletal muscle are similar in young and old muscle; (3) consider the consequences of these changes to whole-body functional performance; (4) outline important future work along with the potential for targeted intervention strategies to mitigate potential detrimental effects.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number372
    Pages (from-to)1-31
    Number of pages31
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2 Mar 2021

    Bibliographical note

    This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


    • High-fat diet
    • Isolated skeletal muscle
    • Muscle ageing
    • Sarcopenia

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Biochemistry
    • Molecular Biology


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