Massage is a viable mechanotherapy to improve protein turnover during disuse atrophy and improve muscle regrowth during recovery from disuse atrophy in adult muscle. Therefore, we investigated whether massage can cause beneficial adaptations in skeletal muscle from aged rats during normal weight-bearing (WB) conditions, hindlimb suspension (HS), or reloading (RE) following HS. Aged (30 months) male Fischer 344/Brown Norway rats were divided into two experiments: (1) WB for 7 days (WB, n = 8), WB with massage (WBM, n = 8), HS for 7 days (HS7, n = 8), or HS with massage (HSM, n = 8), and (2) WB for 14 days (WB14, n = 8), HS for 14 days (HS14, n = 8), reloading (RE, n = 10), or reloading with massage (REM, n = 10) for 7 days following HS. Deuterium oxide (D2O) labeling was used to assess dynamic protein and ribosome turnover in each group and anabolic signaling pathways were assessed. Massage did have an anabolic benefit during RE or WB. In contrast, massage during HS enhanced myofibrillar protein turnover in both the massaged limb and contralateral non-massaged limb compared with HS, but this did not prevent muscle loss. Overall, the data demonstrate that massage is not an effective mechanotherapy for prevention of atrophy during muscle disuse or recovery of muscle mass during reloading in aged rats.
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This work was supported by National Institute of Health grants AT009268 and AG042699 (E.D.V, T.B., B.M.). M.L. was supported by a National Institute of Health, National Institute of Aging Training Grant AG052363.
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The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
All animal procedures were conducted in accordance with institutional guidelines for the care and use of laboratory animals and were approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee of the University of Kentucky. The study was conducted in adherence to the NIH Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals.
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Marcus M. Lawrence and Douglas W. Van Pelt are co-first authors.
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Lawrence, M.M., Van Pelt, D.W., Confides, A.L. et al. Muscle from aged rats is resistant to mechanotherapy during atrophy and reloading. GeroScience (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11357-020-00215-y
- Disuse atrophy
- Protein turnover
- Ribosome biogenesis