Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Sarcopenia is a common complication affecting liver disease patients, yet the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. We aimed to elucidate the cellular mechanisms that drive sarcopenia progression using an in vitro model of liver disease. C2C12 myotubes were serum and amino acid starved for 1-h and subsequently conditioned with fasted ex vivo serum from four non-cirrhotic non-alcoholic fatty liver disease patients (NAFLD), four decompensated end-stage liver disease patients (ESLD) and four age-matched healthy controls (CON) for 4- or 24-h. After 4-h C2C12 myotubes were treated with an anabolic stimulus (5 mM leucine) for 30-min. Myotube diameter was reduced following treatment with serum from ESLD compared with CON (−45%) and NAFLD (−35%; p < 0.001 for both). A reduction in maximal mitochondrial respiration (24% and 29%, respectively), coupling efficiency (~12%) and mitophagy (~13%) was identified in myotubes conditioned with NAFLD and ESLD serum compared with CON (p < 0.05 for both). Myostatin (43%, p = 0.04) and MuRF-1 (41%, p = 0.03) protein content was elevated in myotubes treated with ESLD serum compared with CON. Here we highlight a novel, experimental platform to further probe changes in circulating markers associated with liver disease that may drive sarcopenia and develop targeted therapeutic interventions.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





chronic liver disease, leucine, mitochondria, protein breakdown, sarcopenia, End Stage Liver Disease, Humans, Muscle Fibers, Skeletal, Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease, Protein Biosynthesis, Sarcopenia