Aging accentuates alcohol-induced decrease in protein synthesis in gastrocnemius

Donna H. Korzick, Daniel R. Sharda, Anne M. Pruznak, Charles H. Lang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


The present study sought to determine whether the protein catabolic response in skeletal muscle produced by chronic alcohol feeding was exaggerated in aged rats. Adult (3 mo) and aged (18 mo) female F344 rats were fed a nutritionally complete liquid diet containing alcohol (36% of total calories) or an isocaloric isonitrogenous control diet for 20 wk. Muscle (gastrocnemius) protein synthesis, as well as mTOR and proteasome activity did not differ between control-fed adult and aged rats, despite the increased TNF-α and IL-6 mRNA and decreased IGF-I mRNA in muscle of aged rats. Compared with alcohol-fed adult rats, aged rats demonstrated an exaggerated alcohol-induced reduction in lean body mass and protein synthesis (both sarcoplasmic and myofibrillar) in gastrocnemius. Alcohol-fed aged rats had enhanced dephosphorylation of 4E-BP1, as well as enhanced binding of raptor with both mTOR and Deptor, and a decreased binding of raptor with 4E-BP1. Alcohol feeding of both adult and aged rats reduced RagA binding to raptor. The LKB1-AMPK-REDD1 pathway was upregulated in gastrocnemius from alcohol-fed aged rats. These exaggerated alcohol-induced effects in aged rats were associated with a greater decrease in muscle but not circulating IGF-I, but no further increase in inflammatory mediators. In contrast, alcohol did not exaggerate the age-induced increase in atrogin-1 and MuRF1 mRNA or the increased proteasome activity. Our results demonstrate that, compared with adult rats, the gastrocnemius from aged rats is more sensitive to the catabolic effects of alcohol on protein synthesis, but not protein degradation, and this exaggerated response may be AMPK-dependent.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)R887-R898
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Medicine


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