by Lisa Keilhofer

Correlation found between skeletal muscle and gut microbiome

There is a link between the skeletal muscle and the gut microbiome.
There is a link between the skeletal muscle and the gut microbiome.

Frequent readers of our pages know that an intact microbiome effects our wellbeing. In numerous articles, we refer to studies on the interaction between microbiome and immune system (e.g.: Impacts of a damage to the microbiome), mental health (e.g.: The intelligent stomach - our second brain) and a number of metabolic diseases (e.g.: The Westernization of the Microbiome). Also, a correlation between skin and gut microbiome has been a matter of interest, already. Now, the next astonishing finding is made: experiments on mice recently proved functional interactions between the gut microbiome and the skeletal muscle.

In July 2019, the US National Library of Medicine published a study by Lahiri et. al. that clearly proves an interaction between the buildup and function of skeletal muscle and the gut microbiome of the examined mice. The constitution of the microbiome showed to be a key factor for physiology, homeostasis, and sustained health of the host organism. The study compares healthy with germ-free and pathogenic mice microbiota and shows that an intact microbiome can prevent atropy, regulates the insulin level, and even hinders genetical misinformation about skeletal muscle growth and mitochondrial function.

This is how the gut effects our muscles

The study examined cells of mice by modern nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometry analysis (NMR analysis). Among others, the cells of liver and skeletal muscle were examined and some significant changes in the composition could be found. An altered concentration of amino acids, glycine and alanine for instance, along with a reduced cholin concentration, could be proved. Cholin is an important substance for neurotransmitter and a reduced appearance results in a limited communication between muscles and nerves.

Healthy mice consistently have a greater muscle mass compared to their germ-free conspecifics. An explanation for this might be the reduced rates of Rapsyn and Lrp4, two important proteins for neuromuscular build-up and function.

In a cross test, the intact microbiome was implanted in the impaired mice and the result proved the assumptions right: The limited-performing rodents now showed a sudden muscle buildup, a reduction in muscle atopy markers, and an improved oxidative metabolic capacity of the skeletal muscles. The above-named proteins Rapsyn and Lrp4 were also increasing after the implantation of an intact microbiome, what resulted again in a stronger skeletal muscle build-up.

An important step in microbiome research

As mentioned in the beginning, there are numerous studies on the gut microbiome and the interaction with organs. The influence of the microbiome on the musculature has been neglected, so far. This study opens a new dimension, in how far we are influenced by our microbiomes. And it shows more and more clearly: An intact gut microbiome is the linchpin of our whole organism.

Lisa Keilhofer
Lisa Keilhofer

Lisa Keilhofer studied at the University of Regensburg. She works in internationalization and as a freelance editor.

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