Impaired muscle recovery (size and strength) following a disuse period commonly occurs in older adults. Many of these individuals are not able to adequately exercise due to pain and logistic barriers. Thus, nutritional and pharmacological therapeutics, that are translatable, are needed to promote muscle recovery following disuse in older individuals. Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma coactivator 1-alpha (PGC-1α) may be a suitable therapeutic target due to pleiotropic regulation of skeletal muscle. This review focuses on nutritional and pharmacological interventions that target PGC-1α and related Sirtuin 1 (SIRT1) and 5′ AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPKα) signaling in muscle and thus may be rapidly translated to prevent muscle disuse atrophy and promote recovery. In this review, we present several therapeutics that target PGC-1α in skeletal muscle such as leucine, β-hydroxy-β-methylbuyrate (HMB), arginine, resveratrol, metformin and combination therapies that may have future application to conditions of disuse and recovery in humans.
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