1 Department of Public Health - Sport Science, Department of Public Health, Health, Aarhus University2 Gerontology Research Centre, Department of Health Sciences, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland. email@example.com unknown4 Department of Public Health - Sport Science, Department of Public Health, Health, Aarhus University
Human ageing is accompanied with deterioration in endocrine functions the most notable and well characterized of which being the decrease in the production of sex hormones. Current research literature suggests that low sex hormone concentration may be among the key mechanism for sarcopenia and muscle weakness. Within the European large scale MYOAGE project, the role of sex hormones, estrogens and testosterone, in causing the aging-related loss of muscle mass and function was further investigated. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) in women is shown to diminish age-associated muscle loss, loss in fast muscle function (power), and accumulation of fat in skeletal muscle. Further HRT raises the protein synthesis rate in skeletal muscle after resistance training, and has an anabolic effect upon connective tissue in both skeletal muscle and tendon, which influences matrix structure and mechanical properties. HRT influences gene expression in e.g. cytoskeletal and cell-matrix proteins, has a stimulating effect upon IGF-I, and a role in IL-6 and adipokine regulation. Despite low circulating steroid-hormone level, postmenopausal women have a high local concentration of steroidogenic enzymes in skeletal muscle.