Essential amino acids (EAA) improve basal muscle protein synthesis in the elderly. Nevertheless, in settings of prolonged supplementation, putative signal pathways of EAA are currently unknown. The purpose of this study was to test the effects of prolonged supplementation of EAA enriched mixture (12-L-Amin) on Insulin/Insulin-like Growth Factor-1 (IGF1) pathway by measuring total and phosphorylated Akt (Ser473) and its upstream (IRS1 at Ser636) and downstream (mTOR at Ser2448, p70S6K at Thr389) targets in basal conditions and following acute insulin (0.1 U/L) incubation in vitro. To this aim, soleus muscles were dissected from male Wistar rats divided in three groups of 7 each: adults (AD, 10 mo of age), elderly (EL, 22 mo of age) and elderly supplemented (EL-AA, 12-L-Amin 1.5gr/Kg die in drinking water for 3 mo). EL showed reduced basal and post-insulin mTOR and p70S6K activation and reduced post-insulin IRS1 degradation relative to AD. EL-AA showed an increase of post-insulin Akt activation, no change in basal and post-insulin phospho-mTOR, lower reduction of phospho-p70S6K and increased post-insulin IRS1 degradation relative to AD. These results demonstrate that chronic 12-LAmin administration exerts anti-ageing effects on the activation/inactivation of the Insulin/IGF1/mTOR pathway which is identified as putative target of EAA in the elderly.
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