Effects of prolonged dietary curcumin exposure on skeletal muscle biochemical and functional responses of aged male rats

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International Journal of Molecular Sciences


Oxidative stress resulting from decreased antioxidant protection and increased reactive oxygen and nitrogen species (RONS) production may contribute to muscle mass loss and dysfunction during aging. Curcumin is a phenolic compound shown to upregulate antioxidant defenses and directly quench RONS in vivo. This study determined the impact of prolonged dietary curcumin exposure on muscle mass and function of aged rats. Thirty-two-month-old male F344xBN rats were provided a diet with or without 0.2% curcumin for 4 months. The groups included: ad libitum control (CON; n = 18); 0.2% curcumin (CUR; n = 18); and pair-fed (PAIR; n = 18) rats. CUR rats showed lower food intake compared to CON, making PAIR a suitable comparison group. CUR rats displayed larger plantaris mass and force production (vs. PAIR). Nuclear fraction levels of nuclear factor erythroid-2 related-factor-2 were greater, and oxidative macromolecule damage was lower in CUR (vs. PAIR). There were no significant differences in measures of antioxidant status between any of the groups. No difference in any measure was observed between CUR and CON rats. Thus, consumption of curcumin coupled with reduced food intake imparted beneficial effects on aged skeletal muscle. The benefit of curcumin on aging skeletal muscle should be explored further.



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