The primary goal of my research is to understand the role of autophagy in age-related muscle loss, and to test interventions to preserve muscle mass and health with age, such as calorie restriction and exercise. Autophagy is one of the degradative mechanisms that cells possess to clear intracellular “waste” and to prevent the accumulation of damaged and potentially toxic intracellular materials. When autophagy fails or becomes deregulated, however, cells might be seriously impacted by accumulating “waste” and die. I am particularly interested in the interrelationship of aging and autophagy in skeletal muscle.
My lab will use rodent and livestock models as well as cultured cell models to investigate the effects of aging and dietary and exercise regimens on skeletal muscle cells with special emphasis on autophagy and other degradative mechanisms. We will employ physiological, biochemical, and molecular techniques to answer questions related to the effects of different calorie restriction regimes, supplements, and exercise on muscle cell health, including mitochondrial function and cellular maintenance through autophagy and other degradative mechanisms; the balance that ensures efficient cellular maintenance without excessive degradation and atrophy; and the balance between protein synthesis and degradation.
Buford TW, Anton SD, Judge AR, Marzetti E, Wohlgemuth SE, Carter CS, Leeuwenburgh C, Pahor M, Manini TM (2010) Models of accelerated sarcopenia: Critical pieces for solving the puzzle of age-related muscle atrophy. Ageing Res Rev 9(4), 369-383.
Wohlgemuth SE, Seo AY, Marzetti E, Lees HA, Leeuwenburgh C (2010) Skeletal muscle autophagy and apoptosis during aging: effects of calorie restriction and life-long exercise. Exp Gerontol 45(2), 138-148.
Wohlgemuth SE, Julian D, Akin DE, Fried J, Toscano K, Leeuwenburgh C, Dunn Jr.WA (2007): Autophagy in the heart and liver during normal aging and calorie restriction. Rejuvenation Res 10 (3), 1-13.
Marzetti E, Wohlgemuth SE, Lees HA, Chung HY, Giovannini S, Leeuwenburgh C. (2008) Age-related activation of mitochondrial caspase-independent apoptotic signaling in rat gastrocnemius muscle. Mech Ageing Dev 129 (9), 542-549.
Hofer T, Servais S, Seo AY, Marzetti E, Hiona A, Upadhyay SJ, Wohlgemuth SE, Leeuwenburgh C (2009) Bioenergetics and permeability transition pore opening in heart subsarcolemmal and interfibrillar mitochondria: effects of aging and lifelong calorie restriction. Mech Ageing Dev 130 (5), 297-307.
Wohlgemuth SE, Arp AJ, Bergquist D and Julian D (2007): Rapid induction and disappearance of electron-dense organelles following sulfide exposure in the marine annelid Branchioasychis americana. Invertebrate Biology 126 (2), 163-172.