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Radix astragali is a popular traditional herbal medicine that provides significant protection against tissue injury in various models of oxidative stress-related diseases. In this study, we aimed to investigate whether administration of Radix astragali prevented atrophy in both slow- and fast-twitch muscles following cast immobilization. Twenty-seven 12-week-old male F344 rats were divided into three experimental groups: control (CON), immobilized (IM), and immobilized with Radix astragali administration (IM+AR). Rats in the IM and IM+AR groups were subjected to immobilization of both lower extremities using casting-tape for 14 days. Rats in the IM+AR group were orally administered a decoction of Radix astragali daily for 21 days beginning 7 days before cast immobilization. As expected, rats in the IM group showed significant decreases (P < 0.05) in soleus and plantaris muscle-to-body weight ratios by 74.3% and 70.5%, respectively, compared with those in the CON group. Administration of Radix astragali significantly reversed (+35.5%) the weight reduction observed in soleus muscle, but not in the plantaris muscle, compared with that in the IM group. Furthermore, administration of Radix astragali inhibited MuRF1 mRNA expression only in the soleus muscle during cast immobilization. Our results demonstrated that administration of Radix astragali suppressed the immobilization-induced reductions in skeletal muscle mass and expression of MuRF1 mRNA in slow-twitch soleus muscles, but not in fast-twitch plantaris muscles.


Risa Nozaki, Yung-Li Hung, Kana Takagi, Daiki Nakano, Takako Fujii, Noriaki Kawanishi, Takeshi Okamoto, Shuichi Machida. Differential protective effects of Radix astragali, herbal medicine, on immobilization-induced atrophy of slow-twitch and fast-twitch muscles. Biomedical research (Tokyo, Japan). 2020;41(3):139-148

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PMID: 32522931

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