, Volume 34, Issue 2, pp 371–387 | Cite as

Differential effect of long-term leucine supplementation on skeletal muscle and adipose tissue in old rats: an insulin signaling pathway approach

  • Gilbert Zeanandin
  • Michèle BalageEmail author
  • Stéphane M. Schneider
  • Joëlle Dupont
  • Xavier Hébuterne
  • Isabelle Mothe-SatneyEmail author
  • Dominique Dardevet


Leucine acts as a signal nutrient in promoting protein synthesis in skeletal muscle and adipose tissue via mTOR pathway activation, and may be of interest in age-related sarcopenia. However, hyper-activation of mTOR/S6K1 has been suggested to inhibit the first steps of insulin signaling and finally promote insulin resistance. The impact of long-term dietary leucine supplementation on insulin signaling and sensitivity was investigated in old rats (18 months old) fed a 15% protein diet supplemented (LEU group) or not (C group) with 4.5% leucine for 6 months. The resulting effects on muscle and fat were examined. mTOR/S6K1 signaling pathway was not significantly altered in muscle from old rats subjected to long-term dietary leucine excess, whereas it was increased in adipose tissue. Overall glucose tolerance was not changed but insulin-stimulated glucose transport was improved in muscles from leucine-supplemented rats related to improvement in Akt expression and phosphorylation in response to food intake. No change in skeletal muscle mass was observed, whereas perirenal adipose tissue mass accumulated (+45%) in leucine-supplemented rats. A prolonged leucine supplementation in old rats differently modulates mTOR/S6K pathways in muscle and adipose tissue. It does not increase muscle mass but seems to promote hypertrophy and hyperplasia of adipose tissue that did not result in insulin resistance.


Leucine supplementation Sarcopenia Muscle Adipose tissue Insulin signaling 



The authors thank Claire Sornet, Philippe Denis, Nordine Hafnaoui, and Hélène Lafarge for their technical participation and Christian Lafarge for animal care.

This work was supported by the Institut Benjamin Delessert, Paris, France; by INSERM, Université de Nice Sophia–Antipolis, and Conseil Général des Alpes-Maritimes.


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Copyright information

© American Aging Association 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gilbert Zeanandin
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Michèle Balage
    • 4
    • 5
    Email author
  • Stéphane M. Schneider
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Joëlle Dupont
    • 6
  • Xavier Hébuterne
    • 1
    • 2
  • Isabelle Mothe-Satney
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • Dominique Dardevet
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Nice, Pôle DigestifNiceFrance
  2. 2.Faculté de MédecineUniversité de Nice Sophia–AntipolisNiceFrance
  3. 3.INSERM, U907, IFR50NiceFrance
  4. 4.INRA, Centre Clermont-Ferrand—Theix, UMR 1019, Unité Nutrition HumaineSaint Genès ChampanelleFrance
  5. 5.Univ Clermont 1, UFR Médecine, UMR 1019 Unité Nutrition HumaineClermont-FerrandFrance
  6. 6.INRA, UMR 85 Physiologie de la Reproduction et des ComportementsNouzillyFrance

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