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Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2014;2014:540580. doi: 10.1155/2014/540580. Epub 2014 Feb 20.

Deer Antler Extract Improves Fatigue Effect through Altering the Expression of Genes Related to Muscle Strength in Skeletal Muscle of Mice.

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Department of Medicinal Botany and Health Applications, Da-Yeh University, 168 University Road, Dacun, Changhua 51591, Taiwan.
Department of Microbiology, China Medical University, 91 Hsueh-Shih Road, Taichung 40402, Taiwan.
Department of Veterinary Medicine, National Chung Hsing University, 250 Kuo-Kuang Road, Taichung 40227, Taiwan.
Graduate Institute of Chinese Medicine, China Medical University, 91 Hsueh-Shih Road, Taichung 40402, Taiwan.


Deer antler is a well-known traditional Chinese medicine used in Asian countries for the tonic and the improvement of aging symptoms. The present study was designed to investigate the antifatigue effect and mechanism of Formosan sambar deer tip antler extract (FSDTAE). The swimming times to exhaustion of mice administered FSDTAE (8.2 mg/day) for 28 days were apparently longer than those of the vehicle-treated mice in forced swim test. However, the indicators of fatigue, such as the reduction in glucose level and the increases in blood urea nitrogen and lactic acid levels, were not significantly inhibited by FSDTAE. Therefore, microarray analysis was further used to examine the anti-fatigue mechanism of FSDTAE. We selected genes with fold changes >2 or <-2 in skeletal muscle for pathway analysis. FSDTAE-affected genes were involved in 9 different signaling pathways, such as GnRH signaling pathway and insulin signaling pathway. All of the significantly expressed genes were classified into 8 different categories by their functions. The most enriched category was muscular system, and 6 upregulated genes, such as troponin I, troponin T1, cysteine and glycine-rich protein 2, myosin heavy polypeptide 7, tropomyosin 2, and myomesin family member 3, were responsible for the development and contraction of muscle. Real-time PCR analysis indicated that FSDTAE increased troponins mRNA expression in skeletal muscle. In conclusion, our findings suggested that FSDTAE might increase the muscle strength through the upregulation of genes responsible for muscle contraction and consequently exhibited the anti-fatigue effect in mice.

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