Vitamin C administration attenuates overload-induced skeletal muscle hypertrophy in rats

Acta Physiol (Oxf). 2013 May;208(1):57-65. doi: 10.1111/apha.12042. Epub 2013 Jan 28.


Aim: This study aimed to investigate the effects of vitamin C administration on skeletal muscle hypertrophy induced by mechanical overload in rats.

Methods: Male Wistar rats were randomly assigned to three groups: (i) sham-operated group (n = 8), (ii) placebo-administered group (n = 8) and (iii) vitamin C-administered group (n = 8). In the placebo-administered and vitamin C-administered groups, the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles of the right hindlimb were surgically removed to overload the plantaris muscle. Vitamin C (500 mg kg(-1)) was orally administered to the vitamin C-administered group once a day for 14 days.

Results: Synergist muscle ablation caused significant increases in wet weight and protein concentration of the plantaris muscle in both the placebo-administered (P < 0.01) and vitamin C-administered groups (P < 0.01) compared with the sham-operated group (SHA). However, the magnitude of plantaris muscle hypertrophy (expressed as a percentage of the contralateral plantaris muscle) was significantly smaller (P < 0.01) in the vitamin C-administered group (141%) than in the placebo-administered group (PLA) (152%). Compared with the SHA, only the PLA showed higher expressions of phosphorylated p70s6k and Erk1/2 (positive regulators of muscle protein synthesis) and a lower expression of atrogin-1 (a muscle atrophy marker). Concentrations of vitamin C and oxidative stress markers in the overloaded muscle were similar between the placebo-administered and vitamin C-administered groups.

Conclusion: Oral vitamin C administration can attenuate overload-induced skeletal muscle hypertrophy, which may have implications for antioxidant supplementation during exercise training.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / administration & dosage
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Ascorbic Acid / administration & dosage
  • Ascorbic Acid / pharmacology*
  • Hindlimb
  • Hypertrophy
  • Male
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase 1 / metabolism
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase 3 / metabolism
  • Muscle Contraction*
  • Muscle Proteins / metabolism
  • Muscle, Skeletal / drug effects*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism
  • Muscle, Skeletal / pathology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiopathology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / surgery
  • Organ Size
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Phosphorylation
  • Physical Exertion*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Ribosomal Protein S6 Kinases, 70-kDa / metabolism
  • SKP Cullin F-Box Protein Ligases / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Time Factors


  • Antioxidants
  • Muscle Proteins
  • Fbxo32 protein, rat
  • SKP Cullin F-Box Protein Ligases
  • Ribosomal Protein S6 Kinases, 70-kDa
  • Mapk1 protein, rat
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase 1
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase 3
  • Ascorbic Acid