As a widely distributed and natural existing antioxidant, ferulic acid and its functions have been extensively studied in recent decades. In the present study, hypertrophic growth of fast skeletal myofibers was observed in adult zebrafish after ferulic acid administration for 30 days, being reflected in increased body weight, body mass index (BMI), and muscle mass, along with an enlarged cross-sectional area of myofibers. qRT-PCR analyses demonstrated the up-regulation of relative mRNA expression levels of myogenic transcriptional factors (MyoD, myogenin and serum response factor (SRF)) and their target genes encoding sarcomeric unit proteins involved in muscular hypertrophy (skeletal alpha-actin, myosin heavy chain, tropomyosin, and troponin I). Western blot analyses detected a higher phosphorylated level of zTOR (zebrafish target of rapamycin), p70S6K, and 4E-BP1, which suggests an enhanced translation efficiency and protein synthesis capacity of fast skeletal muscle myofibers. These changes in transcription and translation finally converge and lead to higher protein contents in myofibers, as confirmed by elevated levels of myosin heavy chain (MyHC), and an increased muscle mass. To the best of our knowledge, these findings have been reported for the first time in vivo and suggest potential applications of ferulic acid as functional food additives and dietary supplements owing to its ability to promote muscle growth.
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