Age related skeletal muscle atrophy and upregulation of autophagy in dogs

Teresa B. Pagano, Slawomir Wojcik, Alessandro Costagliola, Davide De Biase, Salvatore Iovino, Valentina Iovane, Valeria Russo, Serenella Papparella, Orlando Paciello

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Sarcopenia, the age related loss of muscle mass and strength, is a multifactorial condition that occurs in a variety of species and represents a major healthcare concern for older adults in human medicine. In veterinary medicine, skeletal muscle atrophy is often observed in dogs as they reach old age, but the process is not well understood. Autophagy is a mechanism for degradation and recycling of cellular constituents and is potentially involved in sarcopenia. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the expression of three markers of autophagy, Beclin 1, LC3 and p62, in muscle wasting of geriatric dogs, to establish whether the levels of autophagy change with increasing age. Muscle biopsies from 25 geriatric dogs were examined and compared with those from five healthy young dogs. Samples from older dogs, assessed by routine histology, histoenzymatic staining and immunohistochemistry, showed evidence of muscle atrophy, sarcoplasmic vacuolisation and mitochondrial alterations. Furthermore, in 80% of the muscle samples from the older dogs, marked intracytoplasmic staining for Beclin 1 and LC3 was observed. Significantly greater expression of LC3 II and Beclin 1, but lower expression of p62, was found by Western blotting, comparing muscle samples from old vs. young dogs. The results of the study suggest that enhanced autophagy might be one of the factors underlying muscle atrophy in dogs as they age.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)54-60
Number of pages7
JournalVeterinary Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2015


  • Ageing
  • Autophagy
  • Canine
  • Muscle atrophy
  • Sarcopenia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • veterinary(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Age related skeletal muscle atrophy and upregulation of autophagy in dogs'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this