The mechanisms contributing to sarcopenia include reduced satellite cell (myogenic stem cell) function that is impacted by the environment (niche) of these cells. Satellite cell function is affected by oxidative stress, which is elevated in aged muscles, and this along with changes in largely unknown systemic factors, likely contribute to the manner in which satellite cells respond to stressors such as exercise, disuse or rehabilitation in sarcopenic muscles. Nutritional intervention provides one therapeutic strategy to improve the satellite cell niche and systemic factors, with the goal of improving satellite cell function in aging muscles. Although many elderly persons consume various nutraceuticals with the hope of improving health, most of these compounds have not been thoroughly tested, and the impacts that they might have on sarcopenia, and satellite cell function are not clear. This review discusses data pertaining to the satellite cell responses and function in aging skeletal muscle, and the impact that three compounds: resveratrol, green tea catechins and β-Hydroxy-β-methylbutyrate have on regulating satellite cell function and therefore contributing to reducing sarcopenia or improving muscle mass after disuse in aging. The data suggest that these nutraceutical compounds improve satellite cell function during rehabilitative loading in animal models of aging after disuse (i.e., muscle regeneration). While these compounds have not been rigorously tested in humans, the data from animal models of aging provide a strong basis for conducting additional focused work to determine if these or other nutraceuticals can offset the muscle losses, or improve regeneration in sarcopenic muscles of older humans via improving satellite cell function.
Alway, S. E., Myers, M. J., & Mohamed, J. S. (2014). Regulation of satellite cell function in sarcopenia. Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, 6(SEP). https://doi.org/10.3389/fnagi.2014.00246