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Citrulline: Corrects the effects of aging on body composition


Rationale : Aging is associated with a decrease in muscle mass. Citrulline (CIT) increases muscle protein synthesis. The aim of this work was to evaluate the long-term effect of CIT supplementation on body composition in healthy aged rats.

Methods : Twenty-month-old male Sprague-Dawley rats were randomized to be fed (ad libitum) chow diet,for 12 weeks either enriched with CIT (1,CIT group, n = 19) or with an isonitrogenous amount of non essential amino acid (NEAA group, n = 20). Weight was measured weekly. At sacrifice, rats were dissected and we weighed lean body mass (muscle and carcass),intra-abdominal fat mass and cutaneous fat mass. Five leg muscles were removed and weighed; muscle protein content was measured.

Statistics : Student t-test.

Results : The mortality over 12 weeks was 20% (4/20) inthe NEAA group whereas no mortality was observed inthe CIT group. The CIT supplementation did not affect body weight (630±13 g for CIT vs 658±15 g for NEAA at sacrifice), but increased muscle weight (tibialis p = 0.04 and plantaris p = 0.02) and muscle protein content in the tibialis (195±4 vs 183±5 mg/g of muscle for CIT and NEAA respectively; p = 0.04). CIT induced a change inbody composition with a decrease in cutaneous fat mass(24.7±0.5 vs 28.6±0.7 % of total body weight for CIT and NEAA respectively, p = 0.002) and intra-abdominal fat mass (3.6±0.2 vs 5.1±0.3 %, p = 0.0001) and an increase in lean body mass (54.8±0.6 vs 50.2±0.8 %, p < 0.0001).

Conclusion : CIT supplementation is safe for long term supplementation in the aged rat. For the first time we demonstrate that CIT administration is able to increase lean body mass and decrease fat mass in healthy agedrats. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time that a nutritional manipulation induces such a change inbody composition in aged rats.




Scientific publication : Long-term effect of critrulline supplementation in healthy aged rats: effect on body composition, C. Moinard, S. Le Plénier, C. Carchy, L. Cynober, A. Raynaud-Simon. Clinical Nutrition 2009; 4 Supplements 2: 12-2.

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