Special Issue "Creatine as a Therapeutic Strategy"

A special issue of Biomolecules (ISSN 2218-273X).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 July 2019).

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Maurizio Balestrino
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Neuroscience, Ophthalmology, Genetics, Maternal-Infantile Sciences (DINOGMI), University of Genova, Largo Paolo Daneo 3, 16132 Genova, Italy Ospedale Policlinico San Martino, Genova, Italy

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

After decades of relative neglect, the scientific world is again slowly turning its attention to the energetic metabolism of the cells. This field is especially important for those of us who work and do research on excitable tissues, which create and consume the largest share of energy in the entire human body. As often pointed out, the brain represents about 2% of body weight but consumes about 20% of all the oxygen consumed by the body. Muscles as a whole consume another 20%, and this requirement increases as physical activity increases. The heart consumes “only” 11% of the total energy expenditure of the body, but it is a small organ, so it has the highest energy expenditure relative to its weight. These high energy requirements are easily unbalanced at times of higher energy requirements (increased “effort”), or at times of energy shortage (hypoxia, ischemia).

As these basic notions receive renewed focus from scientists, dietary supplementation with creatine is more and more utilized to prevent or cure various conditions affecting excitable tissues. In fact, this relatively inexpensive supplement lays at the very core of the energy metabolism of the cell. By increasing its own intracellular concentration as well as that of its metabolite phosphocreatine, creatine can at least transiently balance the energy needs when either increased demand or reduced supply throws them off balance.

Moreover, creatine has a modulatory role in the differentiation of neurons and muscle cells, so its biological effects probably surpass energy balance and intervene in neuronal and muscular plasticity as well.

In view of all the above considerations and discoveries, in the past decade, creatine has been used to treat or prevent various conditions of excitable tissues. Several groups have carried out clinical trials that studied how dietary supplementation with creatine may improve health and wellbeing in several conditions. Yet mainstream research still pays insufficient attention to these studies that could herald new ways to address various conditions affecting excitable tissues. Thus, increasing the dissemination of this research is of paramount importance to those of us who are involved in research on the possible clinical uses of creatine.

The present Special Issue of Biomolecules will publish research articles, reviews, and communications reporting the state of the art of the therapeutic use of creatine supplementation in humans. It is exciting to see that after long years of creatine research being confined to experimental preclinical investigation, clinical results are more and more being reported.

Clearly, as human therapeutic use of creatine is growing, more attention must be devoted to how safe its use may be. Thus, the present Special Issue will put creatine safety into focus as well, and discuss the state of the art of safe creatine supplementation.

We look forward to receiving your contributions.

Dr. Maurizio Balestrino
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Biomolecules is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Review

Open AccessReview
Muscular Atrophy and Sarcopenia in the Elderly: Is There a Role for Creatine Supplementation?
Biomolecules 2019, 9(11), 642; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom9110642 - 23 Oct 2019
Abstract
Sarcopenia is characterized by a loss of muscle mass, quality, and function, and negatively impacts health, functionality, and quality of life for numerous populations, particularly older adults. Creatine is an endogenously produced metabolite, which has the theoretical potential to counteract many of the [...] Read more.
Sarcopenia is characterized by a loss of muscle mass, quality, and function, and negatively impacts health, functionality, and quality of life for numerous populations, particularly older adults. Creatine is an endogenously produced metabolite, which has the theoretical potential to counteract many of the morphological and metabolic parameters underpinning sarcopenia. This can occur through a range of direct and indirect mechanisms, including temporal and spatial functions that accelerate ATP regeneration during times of high energy demand, direct anabolic and anti-catabolic functions, and enhanced muscle regenerating capacity through positively impacting muscle stem cell availability. Studies conducted in older adults show little benefit of creatine supplementation alone on muscle function or mass. In contrast, creatine supplementation as an adjunct to exercise training seems to augment the muscle adaptive response to the training stimulus, potentially through increasing capacity for higher intensity exercise, and/or by enhancing post-exercise recovery and adaptation. As such, creatine may be an effective dietary strategy to combat age-related muscle atrophy and sarcopenia when used to complement the benefits of exercise training. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Creatine as a Therapeutic Strategy)
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Open AccessReview
Creatine as a Candidate to Prevent Statin Myopathy
Biomolecules 2019, 9(9), 496; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom9090496 - 17 Sep 2019
Abstract
Statins prevent cardiovascular diseases, yet their use is limited by the muscle disturbances they cause. Rarely, statin-induced myopathy is autoimmune, but more commonly it is due to direct muscle toxicity. Available evidence suggests that statin-induced creatine deficiency might be a major cause of [...] Read more.
Statins prevent cardiovascular diseases, yet their use is limited by the muscle disturbances they cause. Rarely, statin-induced myopathy is autoimmune, but more commonly it is due to direct muscle toxicity. Available evidence suggests that statin-induced creatine deficiency might be a major cause of this toxicity, and that creatine supplementation prevents it. Statins inhibit guanidinoacetate methyl transferase (GAMT), the last enzyme in the synthesis of creatine; thus, they decrease its intracellular content. Such decreased content could cause mitochondrial impairment, since creatine is the final acceptor of the phosphate group of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) at the end of mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation. Decreased cellular synthesis of ATP would follow. Accordingly, ATP synthesis is decreased in statin-treated cells. In vitro, creatine supplementation prevents the opening of the mitochondrial permeability transition pore that is caused by statins. Clinically, creatine administration prevents statin myopathy in statin-intolerant patients. Additional research is warranted to hopefully confirm these findings. However, creatine is widely used by athletes with no adverse events, and has demonstrated to be safe even in double-blind, placebo-controlled trials of elderly individuals. Thus, it should be trialed, under medical supervision, in patients who cannot assume statin due to the occurrence of muscular symptoms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Creatine as a Therapeutic Strategy)
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Open AccessReview
Creatine for the Treatment of Depression
Biomolecules 2019, 9(9), 406; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom9090406 - 23 Aug 2019
Abstract
Depressed mood, which can occur in the context of major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, and other conditions, represents a serious threat to public health and wellness. Conventional treatments are not effective for a significant proportion of patients and interventions that are often beneficial [...] Read more.
Depressed mood, which can occur in the context of major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, and other conditions, represents a serious threat to public health and wellness. Conventional treatments are not effective for a significant proportion of patients and interventions that are often beneficial for treatment-refractory depression are not widely available. There is, therefore, an immense need to identify novel antidepressant strategies, particularly strategies that target physiological pathways that are distinct from those addressed by conventional treatments. There is growing evidence from human neuroimaging, genetics, epidemiology, and animal studies that disruptions in brain energy production, storage, and utilization are implicated in the development and maintenance of depression. Creatine, a widely available nutritional supplement, has the potential to improve these disruptions in some patients, and early clinical trials indicate that it may have efficacy as an antidepressant agent. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Creatine as a Therapeutic Strategy)
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