The musculoskeletal system evolved in mammals to perform diverse functions that include locomotion, facilitating breathing, protecting internal organs, and coordinating global energy expenditure. Bone and skeletal muscles involved with locomotion are both derived from somitic mesoderm and accumulate peak tissue mass synchronously, according to genetic information and environmental stimuli. Aging results in the progressive and parallel loss of bone (osteopenia) and skeletal muscle (sarcopenia) with profound consequences for quality of life. Age-associated sarcopenia results in reduced endurance, poor balance, and reduced mobility that predispose elderly individuals to falls, which more frequently result in fracture because of concomitant osteoporosis. Thus, a better understanding of the mechanisms underlying the parallel development and involution of these tissues is critical to developing new and more effective means to combat osteoporosis and sarcopenia in our increasingly aged population. This perspective highlights recent advances in our understanding of mechanisms coupling bone and skeletal muscle mass, and identify critical areas where further work is needed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine