Oral Amino Acid Supplementation Counteracts Age-Induced Sarcopenia in Elderly Rats

Orietta Pansarasa, Vincenzo Flati, Giovanni Corsetti, Lorenza Brocca, Evasio Pasini, Giuseppe D'Antona

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We investigated the effects of a specific mixture of amino acid (AA) supplements on the adaptation changes induced by aging in the soleus muscle of rats. Male Wistar rats were divided into 3 groups (n = 5 each): young control (YO), 3 months of age; elderly control (EL), 18 months of age; and elderly orally supplemented with an AA mixture (EL-AA), 18 months of age, given as 0.1 g/kg per day in drinking water for 8 weeks. Myosin heavy chain (MHC) composition was analyzed in all muscles. The total fiber number and fiber cross-sectional area of types 1 and 2A fibers were also measured in immunostained sections of the soleus muscle. The ratios between the sarcomere volume (Vsar) and the total volume (Vtot) and single muscle fibers were studied by electron microscopy. The expression of total and phosphorylated serine/threonine protein kinase mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), a potent regulator of messenger RNA translation initiation, was also determined in all groups. Aging was associated with an overall shift toward the expression of a slower MHC phenotype, atrophy of fast and slow fibers, a significant decrease in Vtot/Vsar, and no changes in total fiber number. AA supplementation antagonized the effects of aging. A shift toward the expression of faster MHC isoforms was observed. Fiber atrophy appeared to be partly counteracted by the AA supplements; we noted an increase in cross-sectional area fibers and Vtot/Vsar in EL-AAs. Total and phosphorylated mTOR expression appeared to decrease in EL and was restored by the AA supplements. Collectively, these results suggest that aging-induced muscle adaptations can be partly restored by AA supplementation. An mTOR signal pathway may mediate the effects on fiber trophism.

Original languageEnglish
JournalThe American Journal of Cardiology
Issue number11 SUPPL.
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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