Background: The metabolic syndrome is associated with sarcopenia. Decreased serum levels of Vitamin D (VitD) and insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-1 and their mutual relationship were also reported. We aimed to evaluate whether different dietary profiles, containing or not VitD, may exert different effects on muscle molecular morphology. Methods: Twenty-eight male rats were fed for 10 weeks in order to detect early defects induced by different dietary regimens: regular diet (R); regular diet with vitamin D supplementation (R-DS) and regular diet with vitamin D restriction (R-DR); high-fat butter-based diets (HFB-DS and HFB-DR) with 41% energy from fat; high-fat extra-virgin olive oil-based diets (HFEVO-DS and HFEVO-DR) with 41% energy from fat. IL-1β, insulin-like growth factor (IGF)1, Dickkopf-1 (DKK-1), and VitD-receptor (VDR) expressions were evaluated by immunohistochemistry. Muscle fiber perimeter was measured by histology and morphometric analysis. Results: The muscle fibers of the HEVO-DS rats were hypertrophic, comparable to those of the R-DS rats. An inverse correlation existed between the dietary fat content and the perimeter of the muscle fibers (p
< 0.01). In the HFB-DR rats, the muscle fibers appeared hypotrophic with an increase of IL-1β and a dramatic decrease of IGF-1 expression. Conclusions: High-fat western diet could impair muscle metabolism and lay the ground for subsequent muscle damage. VitD associated with a Mediterranean diet showed trophic action on the muscle fibers.
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