Dietary supplementation with creatine monohydrate prevents corticosteroid-induced attenuation of growth in young rats
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Corticosteroids are used as chemotherapeutic agents in many medical conditions, despite many common and potentially serious side effects. Supplementation with creatine monohydrate (CrM) can increase strength and lean body mass in humans and, therefore, may be a viable countermeasure to the side effects of corticosteroids. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to determine if CrM could prevent the attenuation of growth associated with corticosteroid administration. Forty male Sprague-Dawley rats were randomized to the following groups: control (CON, n = 10), 7 mg methylprednisolone x kg(-1) x week(-1) (PRED, n = 10), 2% CrM in diet (CD, n = 10), or CrM and methylprednisolone (CD-PRED, n = 10). Animals received either a weekly sham injection (saline; CON and CD) or an injection of methylprednisolone (PRED and CD-PRED) for 6 weeks. At the completion of the 6th week, body composition was determined and skeletal muscles were collected. Weight gain was attenuated in PRED as compared with all other groups (P < 0.05). Muscle total creatine and phosphocreatine were greater in the extensor digitorum longus in the CD and CD-PRED groups as compared with the CON and PRED groups (P < 0.05); however, total creatine and phosphocreatine in the soleus were not different. Mean fiber area was greater in type II fibers from the extensor digitorum longus in the CD and CD-PRED groups as compared with the CON and PRED groups (P < 0.05); no treatment effect was seen in the soleus. In conclusion, CrM supplementation prevented the attenuation of growth associated with corticosteroids and also increased type II muscle fiber area. These results could have important clinical implications for several patient populations commonly treated with corticosteroids, and further work is required to determine the specific mechanisms underlying the physiological effects that were observed.
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