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24, chemin de Borde Rouge -Auzeville - CS52627 31326 Castanet Tolosan cedex - France

Last update: May 2021

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Human Nutrition Unit

Zone de texte éditable et éditée et rééditée

Dr Isabelle PAPET

Research activities

Dr Isabelle PAPET

PAPET Isabelle

Email : contact
Tel : +33(0)4 73 62 42 01

The number of older people is growing and it will continue to increase in the future. Aging is associated with the alteration of many physiological functions and the increase of medication use. Sarcopenia, which is the loss of muscle mass associated with aging, is a major component of frailty. Frail older persons are at high risk of entering into functional disability and irreversible dependency. The objective of our work is to limit sarcopenia with a more adequate diet in order to promote the independence of the elderly as long as possible. It is of primarily importance to better understand the metabolic alterations involved in the development of sarcopenia. Aside from the reduction in physical activity, inflammation and oxidative stress are determining factors in the processes involved in sarcopenia. These factors have been the subject of numerous studies within our research unit and externally. Our originality is to presently study the role that poly-medication that is also an important component of frailty may, or not, play in the development of sarcopenia. Among the various potential interactions between medications and sarcopenia, we are interested in metabolic interactions with amino acids that can modify the homeostasis of muscle protein. As an example, we are studying the potential pro-sarcopenic effect of cures with paracetamol, an analgesic that is very widely used by the elderly to relieve pain of low to moderate intensity.

Activités de recherche

 Activité de recherche       Publications       Parcours et Éléments de CV

Inflammation and sarcopenia
Inflammation is a complex response to various conditions ranging from increased body fat mass to severe injuries/pathologies. During aging, systemic inflammation can be revealed by the increase of acute phase proteins. Within a cohort of aging rats, some do not show any systemic inflammation (ie, acute phase proteins not higher than in adult rats), others exhibit low-grade inflammation, whereas acute inflammation may be associated with some pathological status. We compared low-grade inflamed with non-inflamed old rats. Whether or not these rats are under stress (nutritional or inflammatory), the pre-existing low-grade inflammation has no effect on the mass of leg muscles. For sure, acute inflammation induced by an infection strongly reduces muscle masses. Usually, acute muscle loss is not efficiently recovered in elderly. Thus, the contribution of acute inflammation to the development of sarcopenia is likely much larger than that of low-grade inflammation. The threshold above which inflammation is detrimental for skeletal muscle remains to be determined.

Potential pro-sarcopenic effect of paracetamol
The detoxification of paracetamol through sulfation and the mercapturate pathway induce a net loss of cysteine. We hypothesized that this phenomenon could occur at the expense of the other metabolic uses of cysteine, notably for skeletal muscle protein turnover. We performed several studies in adult and old rats showing that chronic treatment or repeated cures with paracetamol can reduce muscle mass. Our results suggest that the need of cysteine ​​may be uncovered in elderly people who are frequently treated with paracetamol, especially in those with low food intakes.


Isabelle Papet Publications

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