Eicosapentaenoic acid changes muscle transcriptome and intervenes in aging-related fiber type transition in male mice

Hiroki Yamazaki, Mayu Nishimura, Masaaki Uehara, Akiko Kuribara-Souta, Motohisa Yamamoto, Noritada Yoshikawa, Ken Ichirou Morohashi, Hirotoshi Tanaka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Age-related sarcopenia is associated with a variety of changes in skeletal muscle. These changes are interrelated with each other and associated with systemic metabolism, the details of which, however, are largely unknown. Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) is a promising nutrient against sarcopenia and has multifaceted effects on systemic metabolism. In this study, we hypothesized that the aging process in skeletal muscle can be intervened by the administration of EPA. Seventy-five-week-old male mice were assigned to groups fed an EPA-deprived diet (EPA-) or an EPA-enriched diet with 1 wt% EPA (EPA þ) for 12 wk. Twenty-four-week-old male mice fed with normal chow were also analyzed. At baseline, the grip strength of the aging mice was lower than that of the young mice. After 12 wk, EPA þ showed similar muscle mass but increased grip strength compared with EPA-. EPA þ displayed higher insulin sensitivity than EPA-. Immunohistochemistry and gene expression analysis of myosin heavy chains (MyHCs) revealed fast-to-slow fiber type transition in aging muscle, which was partially inhibited by EPA. RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq) analysis suggested that EPA supplementation exerts pathway-specific effects in skeletal muscle including the signatures of slow-to-fast fiber type transition. In conclusion, we revealed that aging skeletal muscle in male mice shows lower grip strength and fiber type changes, both of which can be inhibited by EPA supplementation irrespective of muscle mass alteration. NEW & NOTEWORTHY This study demonstrated that the early phenotype of skeletal muscle in aging male mice is characterized by muscle weakness with fast-to-slow fiber type transition, which could be ameliorated by feeding with EPA-enriched diet. EPA induced metabolic changes such as an increase in systemic insulin sensitivity and altered muscle transcriptome in the aging mice. These changes may be related to the fiber type transition and influence muscle quality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E346-E358
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Feb
Externally publishedYes


  • Aging
  • Eicosapentaenoic acid
  • Fiber type transition
  • Muscle strength
  • Sarcopenia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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