Interactions between Growth of Muscle and Stature: Mechanisms Involved and Their Nutritional Sensitivity to Dietary Protein: The Protein-Stat Revisited

D Joe Millward
2021 Nutrients  
Childhood growth and its sensitivity to dietary protein is reviewed within a Protein-Stat model of growth regulation. The coordination of growth of muscle and stature is a combination of genetic programming, and of two-way mechanical interactions involving the mechanotransduction of muscle growth through stretching by bone length growth, the core Protein-Stat feature, and the strengthening of bone through muscle contraction via the mechanostat. Thus, growth in bone length is the initiating
more » ... and this is always observed. Endocrine and cellular mechanisms of growth in stature are reviewed in terms of the growth hormone-insulin like growth factor-1 (GH-IGF-1) and thyroid axes and the sex hormones, which together mediate endochondral ossification in the growth plate and bone lengthening. Cellular mechanisms of muscle growth during development are then reviewed identifying (a) the difficulties posed by the need to maintain its ultrastructure during myofibre hypertrophy within the extracellular matrix and the concept of muscle as concentric "bags" allowing growth to be conceived as bag enlargement and filling, (b) the cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in the mechanotransduction of satellite and mesenchymal stromal cells, to enable both connective tissue remodelling and provision of new myonuclei to aid myofibre hypertrophy and (c) the implications of myofibre hypertrophy for protein turnover within the myonuclear domain. Experimental data from rodent and avian animal models illustrate likely changes in DNA domain size and protein turnover during developmental and stretch-induced muscle growth and between different muscle fibre types. Growth of muscle in male rats during adulthood suggests that "bag enlargement" is achieved mainly through the action of mesenchymal stromal cells. Current understanding of the nutritional regulation of protein deposition in muscle, deriving from experimental studies in animals and human adults, is reviewed, identifying regulation by amino acids, insulin and myofibre volume changes acting to increase both ribosomal capacity and efficiency of muscle protein synthesis via the mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) and the phenomenon of a "bag-full" inhibitory signal has been identified in human skeletal muscle. The final section deals with the nutritional sensitivity of growth of muscle and stature to dietary protein in children. Growth in length/height as a function of dietary protein intake is described in the context of the breastfed child as the normative growth model, and the "Early Protein Hypothesis" linking high protein intakes in infancy to later adiposity. The extensive paediatric studies on serum IGF-1 and child growth are reviewed but their clinical relevance is of limited value for understanding growth regulation; a role in energy metabolism and homeostasis, acting with insulin to mediate adiposity, is probably more important. Information on the influence of dietary protein on muscle mass per se as opposed to lean body mass is limited but suggests that increased protein intake in children is unable to promote muscle growth in excess of that linked to genotypic growth in length/height. One possible exception is milk protein intake, which cohort and cross-cultural studies suggest can increase height and associated muscle growth, although such effects have yet to be demonstrated by randomised controlled trials.
doi:10.3390/nu13030729 pmid:33668846 pmcid:PMC7996181 fatcat:63qfiafnkrfu7gwcvtikybypce