Aging is accompanied by a blunted muscle protein synthetic response to protein ingestion

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Abstract

Purpose Progressive loss of skeletal muscle mass with aging (sarcopenia) forms a global health concern. It has been suggested that an impaired capacity to increase muscle protein synthesis rates in response to protein intake is a key contributor to sarcopenia. We assessed whether differences in post-absorptive and/or post-prandial muscle protein synthesis rates exist between large cohorts of healthy young and older men. Procedures We performed a cross-sectional, retrospective study comparing in vivo post-absorptive muscle protein synthesis rates determined with stable isotope methodologies between 34 healthy young (22±1 y) and 72 older (75±1 y) men, and post-prandial muscle protein synthesis rates between 35 healthy young (22±1 y) and 40 older (74±1 y) men. Findings Post-absorptive muscle protein synthesis rates did not differ significantly between the young and older group. Post-prandial muscle protein synthesis rates were 16% lower in the older subjects when compared with the young. Muscle protein synthesis rates were >3 fold more responsive to dietary protein ingestion in the young. Irrespective of age, there was a strong negative correlation between post-absorptive muscle protein synthesis rates and the increase in muscle protein synthesis rate following protein ingestion. Conclusions Aging is associated with the development of muscle anabolic inflexibility which represents a key physiological mechanism underpinning sarcopenia.

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Wall, B. T., Gorissen, S. H., Pennings, B., Koopman, R., Groen, B. B. L., Verdijk, L. B., & Van Loon, L. J. C. (2015). Aging is accompanied by a blunted muscle protein synthetic response to protein ingestion. PLoS ONE, 10(11). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0140903

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