Proceedings of The Physiological Society

University College Dublin (2009) Proc Physiol Soc 15, PC137

Poster Communications

The effect of vitamin E on skeletal muscle mass in intact and ovariectomized female rats

A. Abdullah1, K. Abdul Kadir2, I. Soelaiman1

1. Department of Pharmacology, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. 2. School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Monash University Malaysia, Bandar Sunway, Selangor, Malaysia.


The aim of this study was to determine the effects of vitamin E deficiency and supplementation on skeletal muscle mass in intact and ovariectomized female rats. One hundred and twenty 3-month-old female Wistar rats were used in this study. Half of the rats were ovariectomized (OVX) while the other half were left intact (sham operated). For ovariectomy, the rats were anaesthesized with Ketapex (100mg/ml) and Xylazil (20mg/ml) [combined in a mixture of 1:1 (v;v)] through intraperitoneal administration (0.25ml/100g body weight). The OVX rats were rested for two weeks for the wounds to recover. Intact and OVX rats were further divided into 6 groups and given different dietary treatments i.e. vitamin E deficient diets (VED, 75%VED, 50%VED, 25%VED), conventional rat chow diet (RC) and conventional rat chow diet with oral supplementation of 30mg/kg body weight of alpha-tocopherol vitamin E (RC+ATF). After 15 weeks, skeletal muscle mass, which is represented by lean soft tissue mass (fat-free mass), was measured using the DEXA (Dual Energy X-ray Absortiometry) technique. We found that there was significant increase in skeletal muscle mass within all the individual groups of intact rats after 15 weeks of dietary manipulation [paired t-test: VED (P<0.05); 75%VED (P<0.001); 50%VED (P<0.001); 25%VED (P<0.01); RC (P<0.01); RC+ATF (P<0.001)]. However, when the after-treatment values of skeletal muscle mass of the various intact groups were compared, no significant difference was found. For OVX rats, there was also significant increase in skeletal muscle mass within all the individual groups after 15 weeks of dietary treatment [paired t-test: VED (P<0.01); 75%VED (P<0.001); 50%VED (P<0.001); 25%VED (P<0.001); RC (P<0.001); RC+ATF (P<0.00001)]. However, when the after-treatment values of skeletal muscle mass of the various OVX groups were compared, no significant difference was noted. After-treatment skeletal muscle mass values between the various groups of intact and OVX rats were not significantly different as well. These results indicate that vitamin E exerted only minimal effects on the growth and development of skeletal muscle mass in young, growing female rats. Supplementation of alpha-tocopherol vitamin E did not confer much added benefits compared to giving conventional rat chow alone, indicating that the vitamin E content in conventional rat chow is adequate for the purpose of normal skeletal muscle development. These results also suggest that ovariectomy (and therefore lower circulating oestrogen levels) did not hinder the progress of skeletal muscle development in young, growing female rats.

Where applicable, experiments conform with Society ethical requirements