Lustgarten, M S, et al. Metabolites Related to Gut Bacterial Metabolism, Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor-Alpha Activation, and Insulin Sensitivity Are Associated with Physical Function in Functionally-Limited Older Adults. Aging Cell, 2014.


Identification of mechanisms underlying physical function will be important for addressing the growing challenge that health care will face with physical disablement in the expanding aging population. Therefore, the goals of the current study were to use metabolic profiling to provide insight into biologic mechanisms that may underlie physical function by examining the association between baseline and the 6-month change in serum mass spectrometry-obtained amino acids, fatty acids, and acylcarnitines with baseline and the 6-month change in muscle strength (leg press one repetition maximum divided by total lean mass, LP/Lean), lower extremity function [short physical performance battery (SPPB)], and mobility (400 m gait speed, 400-m), in response to 6 months of a combined resistance exercise and nutritional supplementation (whey protein or placebo) intervention in functionally-limited older adults (SPPB </= 10; 70-85 years, N = 73). Metabolites related to gut bacterial metabolism (cinnamoylglycine, phenol sulfate, p-cresol sulfate, 3-indoxyl sulfate, serotonin, N-methylproline, hydrocinnamate, dimethylglycine, trans-urocanate, valerate) that are altered in response to peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-alpha (PPAR-alpha) activation (alpha-hydroxyisocaproate, alpha-hydroxyisovalerate, 2-hydroxy-3-methylvalerate, indolelactate, serotonin, 2-hydroxypalmitate, glutarylcarnitine, isobutyrylcarnitine, cinnamoylglycine) and that are related to insulin sensitivity (monounsaturated fatty acids: 5-dodecenoate, myristoleate, palmitoleate; gamma-glutamylamino acids: gamma-glutamylglutamine, gamma-glutamylalanine, gamma-glutamylmethionine, gamma-glutamyltyrosine; branched-chain amino acids: leucine, isoleucine, valine) were associated with function at baseline, with the 6-month change in function or were identified in backward elimination regression predictive models. Collectively, these data suggest that gut microbial metabolism, PPAR-alpha activation, and insulin sensitivity may be involved in mechanisms that underlie physical function in functionally-limited older adults.

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