The effect of exercise, resveratrol or their combination on Sarcopenia in aged rats via regulation of AMPK/Sirt1 pathway

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Sarcopenia is an age-related syndrome characterized by progressive loss of muscle mass and function. Exercise is an important strategy to prolong life and increase muscle mass, and resveratrol has been shown a variety beneficial effects on skeletal muscle. In the present study, we investigated the potential efficacy of using short-term exercise (six weeks), resveratrol (150 mg/kg/day), or combined exercise + resveratrol (150 mg/kg/day) on gastrocnemius muscle mass, grip strength, cross-sectional area and microscopic morphology in aged rats, and explored the potential mechanism at the apoptosis level. Six months old SD rats were used as young control group and 24 months old SD rats were adopted as aged group. After six weeks intervention, the data provide evidence that exercise, resveratrol or their combination significantly increase the relative grip strength and muscle mass in aged rats (P < 0.05). Electron microscopy discovered a significant increase in sarcomere length, I-band and H-zone in aged rats (P < 0.05), and exercise, resveratrol or their combination significantly reduced the increasement (P < 0.05). Moreover, light microscopy revealed a significant increase on Feret's diameter and cross-sectional area (CSA) in aged rats (P < 0.05), but exercise and resveratrol did not show significant effects on them (P > 0.05). Furthermore, exercise, resveratrol or their combination significantly increased the expression of p-AMPK and SIRT1, decreased the expression of acetyl P53 and Bax/Bcl-2 ratio in aged rats (P < 0.05). These findings show that aged rats show significant changes in gastrocnemius muscle morphology and ultrastructure, and the protective effects of exercise, resveratrol and their combination are probably associated with anti-apoptotic signaling pathways through activation of AMPK/Sirt1.

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