Discussing Skeletal Muscle Disuse Atrophy & the Rehabilitative Role of Protein in Recovery From Musculoskeletal Injury

Research Paper Title

Skeletal Muscle Disuse Atrophy and the Rehabilitative Role of Protein in Recovery From Musculoskeletal Injury.

Background

Muscle atrophy and weakness occur as a consequence of disuse after musculoskeletal injury (MSI).

The slow recovery and persistence of these deficits even after physical rehabilitation efforts indicate that interventions designed to attenuate muscle atrophy and protect muscle function are necessary to accelerate and optimise recovery from MSI.

Evidence suggests that manipulating protein intake via dietary protein or free amino acid-based supplementation diminishes muscle atrophy and/or preserves muscle function in experimental models of disuse (i.e. immobilisation and bed rest in healthy populations). However, this concept has rarely been considered in the context of disuse following MSI, which often occurs with some muscle activation during postinjury physical rehabilitation.

Given that exercise sensitises skeletal muscle to the anabolic effect of protein ingestion, early rehabilitation may act synergistically with dietary protein to protect muscle mass and function during postinjury disuse conditions.

This narrative review explores mechanisms of skeletal muscle disuse atrophy and recent advances delineating the role of protein intake as a potential countermeasure.

The possible synergistic effect of protein-based interventions and post-injury rehabilitation in attenuating muscle atrophy and weakness following MSI is also considered.

Reference

Howard, E.E., Pasiakos, S.M., Fussell, M.A. & Rodriguez, N.R. (2020) Skeletal Muscle Disuse Atrophy and the Rehabilitative Role of Protein in Recovery From Musculoskeletal Injury. Advances in Nutrition (Bethesda, MD). nmaa015. doi: 10.1093/advances/nmaa015. Online ahead of print.

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