β-Hydroxy-β-methylbutyrate (HMB) is an intermediate in the metabolism of the branched-chain amino acid leucine. HMB has several demonstrated effects on skeletal muscle function, some of which are contradictory. In addition, the effect of exogenous HMB intake on the levels of intermediate metabolites is not known. Therefore, we investigated changes in HMB metabolites after oral HMB administration in mice. First, ICR mice were treated with either distilled water or HMB (0.215 g/10 mL/kg). Sampling was performed at 0, 1, 6, 12, and 24 h after administration. Next, ICR mice were given distilled water or HMB (0.215 g/10 mL/kg/d) for 10 d. Mice given HMB shown a significant increase in liver β-methylcrotonyl-CoA and increased β-hydroxybutyrate in plasma and the gastrocnemius muscle 1 h after HMB administration. Mice administered HMB for 10 d showed significantly decreased food intake and body weight; however, the relative weight of the gastrocnemius muscle was significantly increased. These results may be attributed to an increase in β-hydroxybutyrate resulting from exogenous HMB, since β-hydroxybutyrate inhibits food intake and suppresses skeletal muscle catabolism. In conclusion, β-hydroxybutyrate, a metabolite of HMB, was found to play an important role in the function of HMB.
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