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Mitochondrial function changes as we age

A new study finds that age-related onset of type 2 diabetes and impaired glucose tolerance may be due to the lowered ability of muscle mitochondria to switch from metabolizing fatty acids to metabolizing glucose in healthy elderly people compared to young people. The study was reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Americans over the age of 65 are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes or glucose intolerance. The reasons for this are largely unknown, but studies have shown that muscle insulin resistance, increased intramyocellular lipid content (IMCL, triglycerides located within muscles), and decreased metabolic rates are related to aging. Because of this, scientists are interested in studying differences in the function of mitochondria located within muscle cells of elderly people compared young people.

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