The interactions between nutrition and metabolism and skeletal muscle have long been known. Muscle is the major metabolic organ—it consumes more calories than other organs—and therefore, there is a clear need to discuss these interactions and provide some direction for future research areas regarding muscle pathologies. In addition, new experiments and manuscripts continually reveal additional highly intricate, reciprocal interactions between metabolism and muscle. These reciprocal interactions include exercise, age, sex, diet, and pathologies including atrophy, hypoxia, obesity, diabetes, and muscle myopathies. Central to this review are the metabolic changes that occur in the skeletal muscle cells of muscular dystrophy patients and mouse models. Many of these metabolic changes are pathogenic (inappropriate body mass changes, mitochondrial dysfunction, reduced adenosine triphosphate (ATP) levels, and increased Ca2+
) and others are compensatory (increased phosphorylated AMP activated protein kinase (pAMPK), increased slow fiber numbers, and increased utrophin). Therefore, reversing or enhancing these changes with therapies will aid the patients. The multiple therapeutic targets to reverse or enhance the metabolic pathways will be discussed. Among the therapeutic targets are increasing pAMPK, utrophin, mitochondrial number and slow fiber characteristics, and inhibiting reactive oxygen species. Because new data reveals many additional intricate levels of interactions, new questions are rapidly arising. How does muscular dystrophy alter metabolism, and are the changes compensatory or pathogenic? How does metabolism affect muscular dystrophy? Of course, the most profound question is whether clinicians can therapeutically target nutrition and metabolism for muscular dystrophy patient benefit? Obtaining the answers to these questions will greatly aid patients with muscular dystrophy.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.