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Biogerontology. 2014 Jun;15(3):217-32. doi: 10.1007/s10522-014-9492-5. Epub 2014 Mar 21.

Metabolomic profiling reveals severe skeletal muscle group-specific perturbations of metabolism in aged FBN rats.

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  • 1Abbott Nutrition R&D, 3300 Stelzer Road, Bldg RP4-2, Columbus, OH, 43219, USA,


Mammalian skeletal muscles exhibit age-related adaptive and pathological remodeling. Several muscles in particular undergo progressive atrophy and degeneration beyond median lifespan. To better understand myocellular responses to aging, we used semi-quantitative global metabolomic profiling to characterize trends in metabolic changes between 15-month-old adult and 32-month-old aged Fischer 344 × Brown Norway (FBN) male rats. The FBN rat gastrocnemius muscle exhibits age-dependent atrophy, whereas the soleus muscle, up until 32 months, exhibits markedly fewer signs of atrophy. Both gastrocnemius and soleus muscles were analyzed, as well as plasma and urine. Compared to adult gastrocnemius, aged gastrocnemius showed evidence of reduced glycolytic metabolism, including accumulation of glycolytic, glycogenolytic, and pentose phosphate pathway intermediates. Pyruvate was elevated with age, yet levels of citrate and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide were reduced, consistent with mitochondrial abnormalities. Indicative of muscle atrophy, 3-methylhistidine and free amino acids were elevated in aged gastrocnemius. The monounsaturated fatty acids oleate, cis-vaccenate, and palmitoleate also increased in aged gastrocnemius, suggesting altered lipid metabolism. Compared to gastrocnemius, aged soleus exhibited far fewer changes in carbohydrate metabolism, but did show reductions in several glycolytic intermediates, fumarate, malate, and flavin adenine dinucleotide. Plasma biochemicals showing the largest age-related increases included glycocholate, heme, 1,5-anhydroglucitol, 1-palmitoleoyl-glycerophosphocholine, palmitoleate, and creatine. These changes suggest reduced insulin sensitivity in aged FBN rats. Altogether, these data highlight skeletal muscle group-specific perturbations of glucose and lipid metabolism consistent with mitochondrial dysfunction in aged FBN rats.

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