Sex differences in skeletal muscle-aging trajectory: same processes, but with a different ranking

Jelle C.B.C. de Jong, Brecht J. Attema, Marjanne D. van der Hoek, Lars Verschuren, Martien P.M. Caspers, Robert Kleemann, Feike R. van der Leij, Anita M. van den Hoek, Arie G. Nieuwenhuizen, Jaap Keijer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Sex differences in muscle aging are poorly understood, but could be crucial for the optimization of sarcopenia-related interventions. To gain insight into potential sex differences in muscle aging, we recruited young (23 ± 2 years, 13 males and 13 females) and old (80 ± 3.5 years, 28 males and 26 females) participants. Males and females in both groups were highly matched, and vastus lateralis muscle parameters of old versus young participants were compared for each sex separately, focusing on gene expression. The overall gene expression profiles separated the sexes, but similar gene expression patterns separated old from young participants in males and females. Genes were indeed regulated in the same direction in both sexes during aging; however, the magnitude of differential expression was sex specific. In males, oxidative phosphorylation was the top-ranked differentially expressed process, and in females, this was cell growth mediated by AKT signaling. Findings from RNA-seq data were studied in greater detail using alternative approaches. In addition, we confirmed our data using publicly available data from three independent human studies. In conclusion, top-ranked pathways differ between males and females, but were present and altered in the same direction in both sexes. We conclude that the same processes are associated with skeletal muscle aging in males and females, but the differential expression of those processes in old vs. young participants is sex specific.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - 23 Feb 2023


  • AKT signaling
  • Frailty
  • Gender
  • Mitochondria
  • Myofiber type
  • Oxidative phosphorylation


Dive into the research topics of 'Sex differences in skeletal muscle-aging trajectory: same processes, but with a different ranking'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this