BACKGROUND: The loss of muscle mass and concomitantly strength, poses a serious risk to the elderly and to astronauts. Dietary cholesterol (CL), in conjunction with resistance training (RT), has been strongly associated with improvements in lean mass. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of two opposing environments on rat skeletal muscle: (1) hindlimb unloading and (2) CL and RT. METHODS: In protocol 1, 13 male Sprague-Dawley rats were unloaded for 28 days (HU; n = 6) or served as cage controls (CC; n = 7). In protocol 2, 42 rats were assigned to 1 of 6 groups: CC (n = 7), CC + CL (n = 4), RT controls (RTC; n = 7), RTC + CL (n = 8), RT (n = 8) and RT + CL (n = 8). RT/RTC consisted of squat-like exercise. RT had weights added progressively from 80 to 410 g over 5 weeks. CL was supplemented in the chow with either 180 ppm (controls) or 1800 ppm (CL). Lower limb muscles were harvested at the end of both protocols and analyzed by Western Blotting for sterol regulatory element-binding protein-2 (SREBP-2) and low-density lipoprotein-receptor (LDL-R) and protein synthesis. RESULTS: Gastrocnemius and plantaris masses and their body mass ratios were significantly lower in the HU rats than control rats. The RT rats gained significantly less body and lean mass than the RTC groups, but the plantar flexor muscles did not show any significant differences among groups. Moreover, RT groups had significantly higher plantaris mixed muscle fractional synthesis rate (FSR) than the RTC and CC animals, with the CL groups showing greater FSR than control rats. No significant differences among groups in SREBP-2 or LDL-R were observed in either protocol. CONCLUSIONS: These studies provide evidence for a relationship between skeletal muscle and cholesterol metabolism, but the exact nature of that association remains unclear.
- Dietary Cholesterol
- And Proteins Essential To Cholesterol Metabolism
- Resistance Training
- Hindlimb Unloading