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Nutr Neurosci. 2018 Jun 19:1-13. doi: 10.1080/1028415X.2018.1483101. [Epub ahead of print]

Cognitive function is preserved in aged mice following long-term β-hydroxy β-methylbutyrate supplementation.

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a Department of Kinesiology & Community Health , University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign , Urbana , IL , USA.
b Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign , Urbana , IL , USA.
c Department of Health and Exercise Science , Colorado State University , Fort Collins , CO , USA.
d Department of Psychology , University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign , Urbana , IL , USA.


β-hydroxy β-methylbutyrate (HMB) is a nutritional supplement purported to enhance skeletal muscle mass and strength, as well as cognitive function in older adults. The purpose of this study was to determine the potential for long-term HMB supplementation to preserve muscle function and cognition in aged mice, as well as provide evidence of a link between vessel-associated pericyte function and outcomes. Four- (Adult/Ad) and 17 month-old (Aged/Ag) C57BL/6J mice consumed chow containing 600 mg/kg BW/day of either Ca-HMB (Ad, n=16; Ag, n=17) or Ca-Lactate (Ad, n=16; Ag, n=17) for 6 months. HMB did not prevent age-related reductions in muscle mass, strength and coordination (Age main effect, P<0.05). The rate of muscle protein synthesis decreased within the mitochondrial fraction (age main effect, P<0.05), and this decline was not prevented with HMB. Despite no change in muscle mass or function, an age-dependent reduction in active avoidance learning was attenuated with HMB (Age and HMB main effects, P<0.05). Age detrimentally impacted muscle-resident pericyte gene expression with no recovery observed with HMB, whereas no changes in brain-resident pericyte quantity or function were observed with age or HMB. The findings from this study suggest that prolonged HMB supplementation starting in adulthood may preserve cognition with age.


Aging; Cognition; HMB; Pericyte; Protein synthesis; Skeletal muscle

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