Evaluation of skeletal muscle regeneration in experimental model after malnutrition

Abstract The aim of this study was to analyze muscle regeneration after cryoinjury in the tibialis anterior muscle of young rats that were malnourished and then recovered. Forty Wistar rats were divided into a nourished group that received a normal protein diet (14% casein) for 90 days and a malnourished and recovered rats group (MR) that was submitted to 45 days of malnutrition with a hypoproteic diet (6% casein) followed by 45 days of a normal protein diet (14% casein). After the recovery period, all of the animals underwent cryoinjury in the right tibialis anterior muscle and euthanasia after 7, 14 and 21 days. The amount of connective tissue and the inflammation area was higher in the malnutrition recovered injury MR group (MRI) at 14 days post-injury (p < 0.05). Additionally, the cross-sectional area (CSA) of the regenerated fibers was decreased in the MRI (p < 0.05). The MyoD and myogenin protein levels were higher in the nourished injury group. Similar levels of TGF-β1 were found between groups. The proposed malnutrition protocol was effective in showing delayed changes in the regeneration process of the tibialis anterior muscle of young rats. Furthermore, we observed a delay in muscle repair even after nutritional recovery.