Some chemotherapeutic agents have been shown to lead to the severe wasting syndrome known as cachexia resulting in dramatic losses of both skeletal muscle and adipose tissue. Previous studies have shown that chemotherapy-induced cachexia is characterized by unique metabolic alterations. Recent results from our laboratory and others have shown that the use of ACVR2B/Fc, a soluble form of the activin receptor 2B (ACVR2B), can mitigate muscle wasting induced by chemotherapy, although the underlying mechanisms responsible for such protective effects are unclear. In order to understand the biochemical mechanisms through which ACVR2B/Fc functions, we employed a comprehensive, multi-platform metabolomics approach. Using both nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and mass-spectrometry (MS), we profiled the metabolome of both serum and muscle tissue from four groups of mice including (1) vehicle, (2) the chemotherapeutic agent, Folfiri, (3) ACVR2B/Fc alone, and (4) combined treatment with both Folfiri and ACVR2B/Fc. The metabolic profiles demonstrated large effects with Folfiri treatment and much weaker effects with ACVR2B/Fc treatment. Interestingly, a number of significant effects were observed in the co-treatment group, with the addition of ACVR2B/Fc providing some level of rescue to the perturbations induced by Folfiri alone. The most prominent of these were a normalization of systemic glucose and lipid metabolism. Identification of these pathways provides important insights into the mechanism by which ACVR2B/Fc protects against chemotherapy-induced cachexia.
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