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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Boston, Massachusetts » Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center On Aging » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #349190

Research Project: Genomics, Nutrition, and Health

Location: Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center On Aging

Title: Dietary epicatechin improves survival and skeletal muscle function in aged mice

item SI, HONGWEI - Tennessee State University
item WANG, XIAOYONG - Tennessee State University
item ZHANG, LONGYUN - Tennessee State University
item Parnell, Laurence
item ADMED, BULBUL - Tennessee State University
item LEROITH, TANYA - Virginia-Maryland Regional College Of Veterinary Medicine (VMRCVM)
item ANSAH, TWUM-AMPOFO - Meharry Medical College
item ZHANG, LIJUAN - Tennessee State University
item ORDOVAS, JOSE - Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center On Aging At Tufts University
item LIU, DONGMIN - Qingdao University
item Lai, Chao Qiang

Submitted to: Journal of Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/16/2018
Publication Date: 8/10/2018
Citation: Si, H., Wang, X., Zhang, L., Parnell, L.D., Admed, B., Leroith, T., Ansah, T., Zhang, L., Ordovas, J.M., Liu, D., Lai, C. 2018. Dietary epicatechin improves survival and skeletal muscle function in aged mice. Journal of Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology.

Interpretive Summary: Epicatechin (EC), is a polyphenolic compound, naturally occurring in foods such as cocoa, beans, berries, apples and tea. EC has been proposed to be a key factor associated with the longer and healthier lifespan observed in people living the traditional lifestyle of a specific Caribbean region. This study investigated if EC supplementation affects the lifespan and health of old mice, and its biological mechanisms of action. Our results showed that old mice fed a diet supplemented with EC increased their survival rate from 39% to 70% during a 20-month period. Also, EC supplementation resulted in both improved physical activity and delayed the age-related decline in muscle function. Therefore, these findings support the notion that supplementing the diet of old mice with EC can increase lifespan and decrease muscle loss. These results call for future studies aimed to investigate whether epicatechin–rich foods exert similar beneficial effects in humans.

Technical Abstract: We recently reported that epicatechin, a bioactive compound, which naturally occurs in various common foods including cocoa, beans, berries, apples and tea, promoted general health and survival of obese diabetic mice. It remains to be illustrated how epicatechin extends health span and delays the process of aging. In the present study, to determine the effects of epicatechin on the lifespan and aging, epicatechin (0.25% w/v in drinking water) was administrated to 20-month old male C57BL mice fed a standard chow diet. Results show that epicatechin supplementation for 37 weeks strikingly increased the survival rate from 39% to 69%. Consistently, epicatechin improved physical activity, delayed skeletal muscle degeneration and shifted the profiles of the serum metabolites in aging mice toward the metabolite profiles observed in young mice. Our analysis found that dietary epicatechin significantly reversed aging-altered mRNA and protein expressions of extracellular matrix (ECM) and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) pathways in skeletal muscle tissue, and reversed the aging-induced declines of the nicotinate and nicotinamide (NAD) pathway as both serum metabolites and skeletal muscle gene expression. The present study provides novel information on natural compounds and anti-aging research in the manner that epicatechin supplementation was demonstrated to exert anti-aging and anti-sarcopenia effects in normal aging mice by mimicking exercise, as deduced by comparison to exercise intervention data. Results from this study provide direct evidence for one strategy to promote healthy aging and extend lifespan in humans simply by consuming more natural foods having high content of epicatechin.