Muscle represents a large fraction of the human body mass. It is an extremely heterogeneous tissue featuring in its contractile structure various proportions of heavy- and light-chain slow type 1 and fast types 2A and 2X myosins, actins, tropomyosins, and troponin complexes as well as metabolic proteins (enzymes and most of the players of the so-called excitation-transcription coupling). Muscle is characterized by wide plasticity, i.e. capacity to adjust size and functional properties in response to endogenous and exogenous influences. Over the last decade, proteomics has become a crucial technique for the assessment of muscle at the molecular level and the investigation of its functional changes. Advantages and shortcomings of recent techniques for muscle proteome analysis are discussed. Data from differential proteomics applied to healthy individuals in normal and unusual environments (hypoxia and cold), in exercise, immobilization, aging and to patients with neuromuscular hereditary disorders (NMDs), inclusion body myositis and insulin resistance are summarized, critically discussed and, when required, compared with homologous data from pertinent animal models. The advantages as well as the limits of proteomics in view of the identification of new biomarkers are evaluated.
- Mass spectrometry
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