Research Papers:

Alteration of muscle fiber characteristics and the AMPK-SIRT1-PGC-1α axis in skeletal muscle of growing pigs fed low-protein diets with varying branched-chain amino acid ratios

Yehui Duan, Fengna Li, Wenlong Wang, Qiuping Guo, Chaoyue Wen and Yulong Yin _

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:107011-107021. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.22205

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Yehui Duan1,2, Fengna Li1,4, Wenlong Wang3, Qiuping Guo1,2, Chaoyue Wen3 and Yulong Yin1,3

1Laboratory of Animal Nutritional Physiology and Metabolic Process, Institute of Subtropical Agriculture Chinese Academy of Sciences, Key Laboratory of Agro-Ecological Processes in Subtropical Region, Hunan Provincial Engineering Research Center for Healthy Livestock and Poultry Production, Scientific Observing and Experimental Station of Animal Nutrition and Feed Science in South-Central, Ministry of Agriculture, Changsha, China

2University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China

3Laboratory of Animal Nutrition and Human Health, School of Biology, Hunan Normal University, Changsha, Hunan, China

4Hunan Co-Innovation Center of Animal Production Safety, CICAPS, Hunan Collaborative Innovation Center for Utilization of Botanical Functional Ingredients, Changsha, Hunan, China

Correspondence to:

Yulong Yin, email: [email protected]

Fengna Li, email: [email protected]

Keywords: branched-chain amino acids; energy axis; growing pigs; muscle fiber type

Received: May 04, 2017     Accepted: September 05, 2017     Published: October 31, 2017


There mainly exists four major myosin heavy chains (MyHC) (i.e., I, IIa, IIx, and IIb) in growing pigs. The current study aimed to explore the effects of low-protein diets supplemented with varying branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) on muscle fiber characteristics and the AMPK-SIRT1-PGC-1α axis in skeletal muscles. Forty growing pigs (9.85 ± 0.35 kg) were allotted to 5 groups and fed with diets supplemented with varying leucine: isoleucine: valine ratios: 1:0.51:0.63 (20% crude protein, CP), 1:1:1 (17% CP), 1:0.75:0.75 (17% CP), 1:0.51:0.63 (17% CP), and 1:0.25:0.25 (17% CP), respectively. The skeletal muscles of different muscle fiber composition, that is, longissimus dorsi muscle (LM, a fast-twitch glycolytic muscle), biceps femoris muscle (BM, a mixed slow- and fast-twitch oxido-glycolytic muscle), and psoas major muscle (PM, a slow-twitch oxidative muscle) were collected and analyzed. Results showed that relative to the control group (1:0.51:0.63, 20% CP), the low-protein diets with the leucine: isoleucine: valine ratio ranging from 1:0.75:0.75 to 1:0.25:0.25 especially augmented the mRNA and protein abundance of MyHC I fibers in BM and lowered the mRNA abundance of MyHC IIb particularly in LM (P < 0.05), with a concurrent increase in the activation of AMPK and the mRNA abundance of SIRT and PGC-1α in BM (P < 0.05). The results reveal that low-protein diets supplemented with optimal BCAA ratio, i.e. 1:0.75:0.75-1:0.25:0.25, induce muscle more oxidative especially in oxido-glycolytic skeletal muscle of growing pigs. These effects are likely associated with the activation of the AMPK-SIRT1-PGC-1α axis.

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