Background: Muscle atrophy is defined as decreased muscle mass, associated with aging as well as with various chronic diseases and is a fundamental cause of frailty, functional decline and disability. Frailty represents a huge potential public health issue worldwide with high impact on healthcare costs. A major clinical issue is therefore to devise new strategies preventing muscle atrophy. In this study, we tested the efficacy of Vital01, a novel oral nutritional supplement (ONS), on body weight and muscle mass using a caloric restriction-induced mouse model for muscle atrophy. Methods: Mice were calorically restricted for 2 weeks to induce muscle atrophy: one control group received 60% kcal of the normal chow diet and one intervention group received 30% kcal chow and 30 kcal% Vital01. The effects on body weight, lean body mass, muscle histology and transcriptome were assessed. In addition, the effects of Vital01, in mice with established muscle atrophy, were assessed and compared to a standard ONS. To this end, mice were first calorically restricted on a 60% kcal chow diet and then refed with either 100 kcal% chow, a mix of Vital01 (receiving 60% kcal chow and 40 kcal% Vital01) or with a mix of standard, widely prescribed ONS (receiving 60 kcal% chow and 40 kcal% Fortisip Compact). Results: Vital01 attenuated weight loss (−15% weight loss for Vital01 vs. −25% for control group, p < 0.01) and loss of muscle mass (Vital01 with −13%, −12% and −18%, respectively, for gastrocnemius, quadriceps and tibialis vs. 25%, −23% and −28%, respectively, for control group, all p < 0.05) and also restored body weight, fat and muscle mass more efficiently when compared to Fortisip Compact. As assessed by transcriptome analysis and Western blotting of key proteins (e.g. phospoAKT, mTOR and S6K), Vital01 attenuated the catabolic and anabolic signaling pathways induced by caloric restriction and modulated inflammatory and mitochondrial pathways. In addition, Vital01 affected pathways related to matrix proteins/collagens homeostasis and tended to reduce caloric restriction-induced collagen fiber density in the quadriceps (with −27%, p = 0.051). Conclusions: We demonstrate that Vital01 preserves muscle mass in a calorically restricted mouse model for muscle atrophy. Vital01 had preventive effects when administered during development of muscle atrophy. Furthermore, when administered in a therapeutic setting to mice with established muscle atrophy, Vital01 rapidly restored body weight and accelerated the recurrence of fat and lean body mass more efficiently than Fortisip Compact. Bioinformatics analysis of gene expression data identified regulatory pathways that were specifically influenced by Vital01 in muscle.
van den Hoek, A. M., Zondag, G. C. M., Verschuren, L., de Ruiter, C., Attema, J., de Wit, E. C., … Kleemann, R. (2019). A novel nutritional supplement prevents muscle loss and accelerates muscle mass recovery in caloric-restricted mice. Metabolism: Clinical and Experimental, 97, 57–67. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.metabol.2019.05.012