Aging leads to sarcopenia and loss of physical function. We examined whether voluntary wheel running, when combined with dietary supplementation with (−)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) and β-alanine (β-ALA), could improve muscle function and alter gene expression
in the gastrocnemius of aged mice. Seventeen-month-old BALB/cByJ mice were given access to a running wheel or remained sedentary for 41 days while receiving either AIN-93M (standard feed) or AIN-93M containing 1.5 mg·kg−1 EGCG and 3.43 mg·kg−1
β-ALA. Mice underwent tests over 11 days from day 29 to day 39 of the study period, including muscle function testing (grip strength, treadmill exhaustive fatigue, rotarod). Following a rest day, mice were euthanized and gastrocnemii were collected for analysis of gene expression by quantitative
PCR. Voluntary wheel running (VWR) improved rotarod and treadmill exhaustive fatigue performance and maintained grip strength in aged mice, while dietary intervention had no effect. VWR increased gastrocnemius expression of several genes, including those encoding interleukin-6 (Il6,
p = 0.001), superoxide dismutase 1 (Sod1, p = 0.046), peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma coactivator 1-α (Ppargc1a, p = 0.013), forkhead box protein O3 (Foxo3, p = 0.005), and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (Bdnf,
p = 0.008), while reducing gastrocnemius levels of the lipid peroxidation marker 4-hydroxynonenal (p = 0.019). Dietary intervention alone increased gastrocnemius expression of Ppargc1a (p = 0.033) and genes encoding NAD-dependent protein deacetylase sirtuin-1 (Sirt1,
p = 0.039), insulin-like growth factor I (Igf1, p = 0.003), and macrophage marker CD11b (Itgam, p = 0.016). Exercise and a diet containing β-ALA and EGCG differentially regulated gene expression in the gastrocnemius of aged mice, while VWR but not dietary
intervention improved muscle function. We found no synergistic effects between dietary intervention and VWR.
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