Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Agriculture - Food Science and Nutrition


Food Science and Nutrition


Scott Reaves


The objective of this study was to examine the influence of age on food intake, tissue and organ mass and NF-ĸB and SIRT6 levels in various tissues. The transcription factor, Nuclear Factor Kappa-B (NF-ĸB), is associated with both catabolic and anabolic pathways of muscle metabolism and may be involved in age-related muscle loss. SIRT6 is a member of the sirtuin family of proteins that function as protein lysine deacetylases and are associated with longevity in a number of organisms. Male Sprague-Dawley rats, aged 6 months (Adult) and 21 months (Old) were fed a commercially available diet for 10-17 days. Old rats consumed less food per body weight (BW) each day than Adult rats (1.45% g diet/g BW vs. 2.4% g diet/g BW). However, when intake data were expressed as g/diet per day there was no significant difference between groups. For skeletal muscle tissue, the average mass of gastrocnemius and soleus (g muscle/g BW) was significantly lower in Old rats. Levels of NF-ĸB (p65/RelA) and SIRT6 were measured by Western blot analysis in gastrocnemius, tibialis anterior, quadriceps, soleus, lung, heart, kidney and liver. NF-ĸB levels were higher in gastrocnemius of Old rats compared to Adult rats. No significant age-specific differences in SIRT6 protein levels were noted in the tissues examined. Interestingly, when examined independent of age, levels of SIRT6 were significantly different between certain tissues. Data from this study suggest that age affects muscle loss and NF-ĸB in a tissue-specific manner. Furthermore, these findings indicate tissue-specific but not age-specific differences in SIRT6 protein levels.