Whey proteins are more efficient than casein in the recovery of muscle functional properties following a casting induced muscle atrophy

PLoS One. 2013 Sep 19;8(9):e75408. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0075408. eCollection 2013.

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of whey supplementation, as compared to the standard casein diet, on the recovery of muscle functional properties after a casting-induced immobilization period. After an initial (I0) evaluation of the contractile properties of the plantarflexors (isometric torque-frequency relationship, concentric power-velocity relationship and a fatigability test), the ankle of 20 male adult rats was immobilized by casting for 8 days. During this period, rats were fed a standard diet with 13% of casein (CAS). After cast removal, rats received either the same diet or a diet with 13% of whey proteins (WHEY). A control group (n = 10), non-immobilized but pair-fed to the two other experimental groups, was also studied and fed with the CAS diet. During the recovery period, contractile properties were evaluated 7 (R7), 21 (R21) and 42 days (R42) after cast removal. The immobilization procedure induced a homogeneous depression of average isometric force at R7 (CAS: - 19.0 ± 8.2%; WHEY: - 21.7 ± 8.4%; P<0.001) and concentric power (CAS: - 26.8 ± 16.4%, P<0.001; WHEY: - 13.5 ± 21.8%, P<0.05) as compared to I0. Conversely, no significant alteration of fatigability was observed. At R21, isometric force had fully recovered in WHEY, especially for frequencies above 50 Hz, whereas it was still significantly depressed in CAS, where complete recovery occurred only at R42. Similarly, recovery of concentric power was faster at R21 in the 500-700°/s range in the WHEY group. These results suggest that recovery kinetics varied between diets, the diet with the whey proteins promoting a faster recovery of isometric force and concentric power output as compared to the casein diet. These effects were more specifically observed at force level and movement velocities that are relevant for functional abilities, and thus natural locomotion.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Weight
  • Caseins / administration & dosage*
  • Diet*
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Fracture Fixation / adverse effects*
  • Isometric Contraction
  • Male
  • Milk Proteins / administration & dosage*
  • Muscle Contraction
  • Muscle Fatigue
  • Muscle, Skeletal / pathology
  • Muscular Atrophy / diet therapy*
  • Muscular Atrophy / etiology*
  • Muscular Atrophy / rehabilitation
  • Organ Size
  • Rats
  • Whey Proteins

Substances

  • Caseins
  • Milk Proteins
  • Whey Proteins

Grant support

Lactalis Recherche et Développement funded the study. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.