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Dernière mise à jour : Mai 2018

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Human Nutrition Unit

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Tel : +33 (0)4 73 60 82 74

Sarcopenia is defined as the decline of muscle mass and function with age, but beyond aging it is a clinical entity that extends to most chronic diseases. Thus, the high prevalence of sarcopenia in many organ diseases (such as renal, cardiac or chronic respiratory failure) is underestimated whereas this muscle loss has many functional and metabolic consequences. It is accompanied by a reduction in strength and therefore contributes to a reduction of autonomy and the risk of falling in the elderly. It also contributes to the development of adiposity including visceral, insulin resistance and osteoporosis.

The mechanisms of sarcopenia development result from an imbalance between the synthesis and the degradation of muscle proteins. During aging and chronic diseases in general, a lower metabolic response to several anabolic factors appears, in particular a resistance to the stimulation of muscle protein synthesis by meal intake or insulin infusion. This "anabolic resistance" has led us to analyze the metabolic events associated with food intake in order to determine the actors of this blunted response and to be able to counteract them by nutritional measures.

Research Activities

In the postprandial phase, muscle protein synthesis is activated by insulin and amino acids mainly derived from dietary proteins, depending on their plasma concentrations. Aging is accompanied by a loss of sensitivity to protein and hormonal signals, partly explaining the appearance and development of sarcopenia. During our work, we have shown that the rapid and intense release of amino acids from dietary proteins ("fast" proteins derived from the soluble fraction of milk proteins) is a major factor of protein retention and stimulation of muscle anabolism in the elderly subjects. These concepts of "slow and fast" protein and pulse protein diet are today the basis of new nutritional strategies for the prevention of loss and the treatment of muscle recovery. Recently, new clinical and pre-clinical studies have shown that other nutritional factors, such as specific fatty acids and micronutrients, can promote the maintenance of postprandial protein anabolism, in particular by amplifying the effects of amino acids and insulin. All these new data are avenues for reflection for an optimal and targeted approach to muscle preservation in a chronic disease situation.

Sarcopenic obesity is a new clinical entity that also raises new clinical and scientific questions. It leads us to rethink the management of sarcopenia where excessive adiposity and muscle deficit can coexist. In particular, the role of ectopic muscle adiposity or more directly of lipotoxicity on muscle signaling pathways is a promising area of research, particularly in the context of chronic diseases in order to preserve the mobility and quality of life of patients.


  • Chanet A, Verlaan S, Salles J, Giraudet C, Patrac V, Pidou V, Pouyet C, Hafnaoui N, Blot A, Cano N, Farigon N, Bongers A, Jourdan M, Luiking Y, Walrand S, Boirie Y. Supplementing breakfast with a vitamin D and leucine-enriched whey protein medical nutrition drink enhances postprandial muscle protein synthesis and muscle mass in healthy older men. J Nutr. 2017; 147(12):2262-71.
  • Walrand S, Gryson C, Salles J, Giraudet C, Migné C, Bonhomme C, Le Ruyet P, Boirie Y. Fast-digestive protein supplement for ten days overcomes muscle anabolic resistance in healthy elderly men. Clin Nutr. 2016 Jun;35(3):660-8
  • Guillet C, Delcourt I, Rance M, Giraudet C, Walrand S, Bedu M, Duche P, Boirie Y. Changes in basal and insulin and amino acid response of whole body and skeletal muscle proteins in obese men. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2009;94(8):3044-50
  • Guillet C, Prod'homme M, Balage M, Gachon P, Giraudet C, Morin L, Grizard J, Boirie Y. Impaired anabolic response of muscle protein synthesis is associated with S6K1 dysregulation in elderly humans. FASEB journal : official publication of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. 2004;18(13):1586-7.
  • Boirie Y, Gachon P, Cordat N, Ritz P, Beaufrere B. Differential insulin sensitivities of glucose, amino acid, and albumin metabolism in erly men and women. The Journal of clinical endocrinology and metabolism. 2001;86(2):638-44.
  • Boirie Y, Dangin M, Gachon P, Vasson MP, Maubois JL, Beaufrere B. Slow and fast dietary proteins differently modulate postprandial protein accretion. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 1997;94(26):14930-5.

Curriculum Vitae

Yves Boirie is Professor in Nutrition and Hospital physician at the Clermont-Ferrand University Hospital. He is Head of the Clinical Nutrition Department of the University Hospital Center and heads the research team "Food and Musculoskeletal Health" within the Human Nutrition Unit (UMR 1019 INRA / University Clermont Auvergne) of the Nutrition Research Center. Human of Auvergne. His main research theme focuses on the protein renewal of the body, especially in muscle, and the impact of nutrients and hormones in maintaining muscle. His expertise is recognized in the field of sarcopenia associated with aging and chronic diseases. He is also developing translational research to prevent muscle loss through nutrition. In terms of clinical research, he carries out projects focused on the metabolic impact of obesity and muscle function.

He is the author of more than 180 original publications in international journals and about fifty journals and chapters. He has been member of several scientific committees of national and international scientific societies of Nutrition and President of the Scientific Committee of the European Society of Clinical and Metabolic Nutrition (ESPEN).

He is also responsible for the university education of Nutrition at the Faculty of Medicine of Clermont-Ferrand, in the courses of the medical curriculum, in the course Master degree, option "Nutrition", co-responsible for several diploma and interregional manager for the certification of the MD in Nutrition.