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Aging (Albany NY). 2018 Jun 14;10(6):1338-1355. doi: 10.18632/aging.101471.

Chronic vitamin D insufficiency impairs physical performance in C57BL/6J mice.

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Division of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine, Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, University at Buffalo and Research Service, Veterans Affairs Western New York Healthcare System, Buffalo, NY 14203, USA.
New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences and Department of Biochemistry, School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY 14214, USA.


Vitamin D insufficiency (serum 25-OH vitamin D < 30 ng/ml) affects 70-80% of the general population, yet the long-term impacts on physical performance and the progression of sarcopenia are poorly understood. We therefore followed 6-month-old male C57BL/6J mice (n=6) consuming either sufficient (STD, 1000 IU) or insufficient (LOW, 125 IU) vitamin D3/kg chow for 12 months (equivalent to 20-30 human years). LOW supplemented mice exhibited a rapid decline of serum 25-OH vitamin D levels by two weeks that remained between 11-15 ng/mL for all time points thereafter. After 12 months LOW mice displayed worse grip endurance (34.6 ± 14.1 versus 147.5 ± 50.6 seconds, p=0.001), uphill sprint speed (16.0 ± 1.0 versus 21.8 ± 2.4 meters/min, p=0.0007), and stride length (4.4 ± 0.3 versus 5.1 ± 0.3, p=0.002). LOW mice also showed less lean body mass after 8 months (57.5% ± 5.1% versus 64.5% ± 4.0%, p=0.023), but not after 12 months of supplementation, as well as greater protein expression of atrophy pathway gene atrogin‑1. Additionally, microRNA sequencing revealed differential expression of mIR‑26a in muscle tissue of LOW mice. These data suggest chronic vitamin D insufficiency may be an important factor contributing to functional decline and sarcopenia.


microRNA; mitochondria; muscle; sarcopenia; vitamin D

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