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BMC Research Notes


Objective: Long INterspersed Element-1 (L1) is an autonomous transposable element in the genome. L1 transcripts that are not reverse transcribed back into the genome can accumulate in the cytoplasm and activate an inflammatory response via the cyclic GMP-AMP (cGAS)-STING pathway. We examined skeletal muscle L1 markers as well as STING protein levels in 10 older individuals (63 ± 11 y, BMI= 30.2 ± 6.8 kg/m2) with end-stage osteoarthritis (OA) undergoing total hip (THA, n= 4) or knee (TKA, n= 6) arthroplasty versus 10 young, healthy comparators (Y, 22 ± 2 y, BMI= 23.2 ± 2.5 kg/m2). For OA, muscle was collected from surgical (SX) and contralateral (CTL) sides whereas single vastus lateralis samples were collected from Y.

Results: L1 mRNA was higher in CTL and SX compared to Y (p < 0.001 and p= 0.001, respectively). Protein expression was higher in SX versus Y for ORF1p (p= 0.002) and STING (p= 0.022). While these data are preliminary due to limited n-sizes and the lack of a BMI-matched younger control group, higher L1 mRNA expression, ORF1p and STING protein are evident in older versus younger adults. More research is needed to determine whether cGAS-STING signaling contributes to heightened muscle inflammation during aging and/or OA.


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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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