Skeletal muscle aging in the Kjær Group

The Institute of Sports Medicine has as a primary goal to understand the mechanisms behind the adaptation of aging skeletal muscle and connective tissue to physical activity, and we would like to covert these findings into guidelines regarding training of the aging human body in health and disease.

Skeletal muscle aging in the Kjær Group

Research focus

In our group, we work with human and in vitro models to understand how physical activity and mechanical loading can influence both molecular reactions as well as structural adaptation of the musculotendinous tissue. We aim to pertubate the tissue homeostasis in skeletal muscle, tendon and cartilage in order to describe the adaptive responses both in regards to signaling, cell-cell interaction and protein turnover. This is done both in healthy individuals and in chronically diseased individuals. The investigations are done in close interaction with clinically handling of musculo-skeletal injuries in our out-patient clinic.

“Our group has a fascinating mixture of clinicians and researchers often combined in the same person. The interplay between MDs and non-MDs provided a fruitful research outcome,” says Professor and Group Leader Michael Kjær.

Main findings

Over the last years, our group has contributed to demonstrate a much more dynamic tissue turnover in connective tissues, and pin pointed the detrimental effect upon those tissues with inactivity. Further, the loss of skeletal muscle with aging is explained by the reduced stem cell function, the increased inflammatory status and altered cell-cell interplay. Finally, we have proven that the optimal treatment of tendon overuse injuries is heavy resistance training and that regeneration of skeletal muscle after injury is dependent upon fast onset of rehabilitation.

Selected projects

Ongoing projects focus on:

1. Cellular interplay in the regeneration of muscle tissue in aging individuals.

2. The hierarchical pathogenesis in tendon tissue with overloading.

3. Healing of tendon tissue after rupture and cartilage dynamics in diseased joints.

4. Influence of long-term physical training upon overall muscle and brain function with aging.