Tetrahedral Framework Nucleic Acids Inhibit Muscular Mitochondria-Mediated Apoptosis and Ameliorate Muscle Atrophy in Sarcopenia

Xi YU, Yun WANG, Liyu RAN, Yang JIANG, Ming CHEN, Hao DU, Yao ZHANG, Diwei WU, Xiaona XIANG, Jiawei ZHANG, Ning JIANG, Hongchen HE, Yueming SONG, Zhou XIANG, Chengqi HE, Zongke ZHOU, Jiancheng ZENG, Yong XIANG, Shi Shu HUANG*, Yunfeng LIN*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review


Sarcopenia is known as age-related muscle atrophy, which influences over a quarter of the elderly population worldwide. It is characterized by a progressive decline in muscle mass, strength, and performance. To date, clinical treatments in sarcopenia are limited to rehabilitative interventions and dietary supplements. Tetrahedral framework nucleic acids (tFNAs) represent a novel kind of DNA-based nanomaterial with superior antiapoptosis capacity in cells, tissues, organs, and systems. In our study, the therapeutic effect of tFNAs treatment on sarcopenia was evaluated both in vivo and in vitro. Results from muscular biophysiological characteristics demonstrated significant improvement in muscle function and endurance in the aged mouse model, and histologic examinations also showed beneficial morphological changes in muscle fibers. In vitro, DEX-induced sarcopenic myotube atrophy was also ameliorated through the inhibition of mitochondria-mediated cell apoptosis. Collectively, tFNAs treatment might serve as an alternative option to deal with sarcopenia in the near future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8816-8826
Number of pages11
JournalNano Letters
Issue number18
Early online date17 Jul 2023
Publication statusPublished - 27 Sept 2023
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

We sincerely appreciate Li Chai, Yi Li, Xing Xu, from the Core Facilities, West China Hospital, Sichuan University, for their assistance. This work was supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 81874027); Shenzhen–Hong Kong Institute of Brain Science–Shenzhen Fundamental Research Institutions (No. 312200102); Science & Technology Department of Sichuan Province (Nos. 2021YFSY0003, 2022YFS0051, 2022NSFSC1312, 2023NSFSC1607); 135-project for disciplines of excellence, West China Hospital, Sichuan University (No. 2021HXFH036).


  • apoptosis
  • mitochondria
  • muscle atrophy
  • sarcopenia
  • tetrahedral framework nucleic acids


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