Chronic kidney disease impairs physical performance. Here the time course and mechanism of muscle insufficiency in renal failure and the influence of dietary protein were studied using 5/6 nephrectomized C57Bl/6 mice, focusing on muscle mass and mitochondria. A decrease in muscle mitochondria and running distance was found in young (16-20 weeks) 5/6 nephrectomized mice, despite the preservation of muscle volume and power. However, a decrease in muscle volume, associated with a reduction in muscle power, was found in aged (48-52 weeks) 5/6 nephrectomized mice. A high-protein diet feeding from 8 weeks increased muscle volume and power in the mice; but this further decreased running distance. Activation of pyruvate dehydrogenase by dichloroacetate effectively recovered running distance that was decreased by dietary protein. These findings indicate the mechanism of muscle insufficiency in renal failure and suggest that activation of muscle mitochondria would serve as a potential strategy for improving the physical performance of the patients with chronic kidney disease.
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