Skeletal muscle is the major constituent of lean body mass and essential for the body's locomotor function. Women have less muscle mass (and more body fat) than men and are therefore not able to exert the same absolute maximal force as men. The difference in body composition between the sexes is evident from infancy but becomes most marked after puberty (when boys experience an accelerated growth spurt) and persists into old age. During early adulthood until approximately the fourth decade of life, muscle mass is relatively stable, both in men and women, but then begins to decline, and the rate of loss is slower in women than in men. In this review we discuss the underlying mechanisms responsible for the age-associated sexual dimorphism in muscle mass (as far as they have been elucidated to date) and highlight areas that require more research to advance our understanding of the control of muscle mass throughout life.
- Muscle protein
- Protein turnover