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In JoVE (1)

Other Publications (11)

Articles by Leticia Brotto in JoVE

 JoVE Biology

Ex Vivo Assessment of Contractility, Fatigability and Alternans in Isolated Skeletal Muscles

1Department of Physiology and Biophysics, UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, 2Muscle Biology Research Group, University of Missouri-Kansas City, 3Pharmacology division, College of Pharmacy, DHLRI, Ohio State University


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We describe a method to directly measure muscle force, muscle power, contractile kinetics and fatigability of isolated skeletal muscles in an in vitro system using field stimulation. Valuable information on Ca2+ handling properties and contractile machinery of the muscle can be obtained using different stimulating protocols.

Other articles by Leticia Brotto on PubMed

Truncation by Glu180 Nonsense Mutation Results in Complete Loss of Slow Skeletal Muscle Troponin T in a Lethal Nemaline Myopathy

A lethal form of nemaline myopathy, named "Amish Nemaline Myopathy" (ANM), is linked to a nonsense mutation at codon Glu180 in the slow skeletal muscle troponin T (TnT) gene. We found that neither the intact nor the truncated slow TnT protein was present in the muscle of patients with ANM. The complete loss of slow TnT is consistent with the observed recessive pattern of inheritance of the disease and indicates a critical role of the COOH-terminal T2 domain in the integration of TnT into myofibrils. Expression of slow and fast isoforms of TnT is fiber-type specific. The lack of slow TnT results in selective atrophy of type 1 fibers. Slow TnT confers a higher Ca2+ sensitivity than does fast TnT in single fiber contractility assays. Despite the lack of slow TnT, individuals with ANM have normal muscle power at birth. The postnatal onset and infantile progression of ANM correspond to a down-regulation of cardiac and embryonic splice variants of fast TnT in normal developing human skeletal muscle, suggesting that the fetal TnT isoforms complement slow TnT. These results lay the foundation for understanding the molecular pathophysiology and the potential targeted therapy of ANM.

Defective Maintenance of Intracellular Ca2+ Homeostasis is Linked to Increased Muscle Fatigability in the MG29 Null Mice

Mitsugumin 29 (MG29) is a transmembrane protein that is normally found in the triad junction of skeletal muscle. Our previous studies have shown that targeted deletion of mg29 from the skeletal muscle resulted in abnormality of the triad junction structure, and also increased susceptibility to muscle fatigue. To elucidate the basis of these effects, we investigated the properties of Ca2+-uptake and -release in toxin-skinned Extensor Digitorium Longus (EDL) muscle fibers from control and mg29 knockout mice. Compared with the control muscle, submaximal Ca2+-uptake into the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) was slower and the storage of Ca2+ inside the SR was less in the mutant muscle, due to increased leakage process of Ca2+ movement across the SR. The leakage pathway is associated with the increased sensitivity of Ca2+/caffeine -induced Ca2+ release to myoplasmic Ca2+. Therefore, the increased fatigability of mutant EDL muscles can result from a combination of a slowing of Ca2+ uptake, modification of Ca2+-induced Ca2+ release (CICR), and a reduction in total SR Ca2+ content.

Functional and Biochemical Modifications in Skeletal Muscles from Malarial Mice

Although it is well established that patients suffering from malaria experience skeletal muscle problems (contracture, aches, fatigue, weakness), detailed studies have not been performed to investigate changes in the contractile function and biochemical properties of intact and skinned skeletal muscles of mammals infected with malaria. To this end, we investigated such features in the extensor digitorium longus (EDL, fast-twitch, glyocolytic) and in the soleus (SOL, slow-twitch, oxidative) muscles from mice infected with Plasmodium berghei. We first studied maximal tetanic force (T(max)) produced by intact control and malaria-infected muscles before, during and after fatigue. Triton-skinned muscle fibres were isolated from these muscles and used to determine isometric contractile features as well as a basic biochemical profile as analysed by silver-enhanced SDS-PAGE. We found that the T(max) of intact muscles and the maximal Ca2+-activated force (F(max)) of Triton-skinned muscle fibres were reduced by approximately 50% in malarial muscles. In addition, the contractile proteins of Triton-skinned muscle fibres from malarial muscles were significantly less sensitive to Ca2+. Biochemical analysis revealed that there was a significant loss of essential contractile proteins (e.g. troponins and myosin) in Triton-skinned muscle fibres from malarial muscles as compared to controls. The biochemical alterations (i.e., reduction of essential contractile proteins) seem to explain well the functional modifications resolved in both intact muscles and Triton-skinned muscle fibres and may provide a suitable paradigm for the aetiology of muscle symptoms associated with malaria.

Enhanced Resistance to Fatigue and Altered Calcium Handling Properties of Sarcalumenin Knockout Mice

Sarcalumenin is a Ca2+-binding protein located in the sarcoplasmic reticulum of striated muscle cells, the physiological function of which has not been fully determined yet. Using sarcalumenin knockout (sar(-/-)) mice, we showed that sar ablation altered store-operated Ca2+ entry (SOCE) and enhanced muscle fatigue resistance. Sar(-/-) mice fatigued less with treadmill exercise, and intact isolated soleus and extensor digitorum longus muscles from sar(-/-) mice were more resistant to intermittent fatiguing stimulation than those from wild-type mice. Enhanced SOCE was observed in the sar(-/-) muscles. Biochemical analysis revealed that sar(-/-) muscles contained significantly elevated expression of mitsugumin 29 (MG29), a synaptophysin-related membrane protein located in the triad junction of skeletal muscle. Because the ablation of mg29 has been shown to cause increased fatigability and dysfunction of SOCE, the enhanced SOCE activity seen in sar(-/-) muscle may be correlated with the increased expression of MG29. Our data suggest that systemic ablation of sarcalumenin caused enhanced resistance to muscle fatigue by compensatory changes in Ca2+ regulatory proteins that effect SOCE.

Coupled Expression of Troponin T and Troponin I Isoforms in Single Skeletal Muscle Fibers Correlates with Contractility

Striated muscle contraction is powered by actin-activated myosin ATPase. This process is regulated by Ca(2+) via the troponin complex. Slow- and fast-twitch fibers of vertebrate skeletal muscle express type I and type II myosin, respectively, and these myosin isoenzymes confer different ATPase activities, contractile velocities, and force. Skeletal muscle troponin has also diverged into fast and slow isoforms, but their functional significance is not fully understood. To investigate the expression of troponin isoforms in mammalian skeletal muscle and their functional relationship to that of the myosin isoforms, we concomitantly studied myosin, troponin T (TnT), and troponin I (TnI) isoform contents and isometric contractile properties in single fibers of rat skeletal muscle. We characterized a large number of Triton X-100-skinned single fibers from soleus, diaphragm, gastrocnemius, and extensor digitorum longus muscles and selected fibers with combinations of a single myosin isoform and a single class (slow or fast) of the TnT and TnI isoforms to investigate their role in determining contractility. Types IIa, IIx, and IIb myosin fibers produced higher isometric force than that of type I fibers. Despite the polyploidy of adult skeletal muscle fibers, the expression of fast or slow isoforms of TnT and TnI is tightly coupled. Fibers containing slow troponin had higher Ca(2+) sensitivity than that of the fast troponin fibers, whereas fibers containing fast troponin showed a higher cooperativity of Ca(2+) activation than that of the slow troponin fibers. These results demonstrate distinct but coordinated regulation of troponin and myosin isoform expression in skeletal muscle and their contribution to the contractile properties of muscle.

Temporal Adaptive Changes in Contractility and Fatigability of Diaphragm Muscles from Streptozotocin-diabetic Rats

Diabetes is characterized by ventilatory depression due to decreased diaphragm (DPH) function. This study investigated the changes in contractile properties of rat DPH muscles over a time interval encompassing from 4 days to 14 weeks after the onset of streptozotocin-induced diabetes, with and without insulin treatment for 2 weeks. Maximum tetanic force in intact DPH muscle strips and recovery from fatiguing stimulation were measured. An early (4-day) depression in contractile function in diabetic DPH was followed by gradual improvement in muscle function and fatigue recovery (8 weeks). DPH contractile function deteriorated again at 14 weeks, a process that was completely reversed by insulin treatment. Maximal contractile force and calcium sensitivity assessed in Triton-skinned DPH fibers showed a similar bimodal pattern and the same beneficial effect of insulin treatment. While an extensive analysis of the isoforms of the contractile and regulatory proteins was not conducted, Western blot analysis of tropomyosin suggests that the changes in diabetic DPH response depended, at least in part, on a switch in fiber type.

Muscle-specific Inositide Phosphatase (MIP/MTMR14) is Reduced with Age and Its Loss Accelerates Skeletal Muscle Aging Process by Altering Calcium Homeostasis

We have recently reported that a novel muscle-specific inositide phosphatase (MIP/MTMR14) plays a critical role in [Ca2+]i homeostasis through dephosphorylation of sn-1-stearoyl-2-arachidonoyl phosphatidylinositol (3,5) bisphosphate (PI(3,5)P2). Loss of function mutations in MIP have been identified in human centronuclear myopathy. We developed a MIP knockout (MIPKO) animal model and found that MIPKO mice were more susceptible to exercise-induced muscle damage, a trademark of muscle functional changes in older subjects. We used wild-type (Wt) mice and MIPKO mice to elucidate the roles of MIP in muscle function during aging. We found MIP mRNA expression, MIP protein levels, and MIP phosphatase activity significantly decreased in old Wt mice. The mature MIPKO mice displayed phenotypes that closely resembled those seen in old Wt mice: i) decreased walking speed, ii) decreased treadmill activity, iii) decreased contractile force, and iv) decreased power generation, classical features of sarcopenia in rodents and humans. Defective Ca2+ homeostasis is also present in mature MIPKO and old Wt mice, suggesting a putative role of MIP in the decline of muscle function during aging. Our studies offer a new avenue for the investigation of MIP roles in skeletal muscle function and as a potential therapeutic target to treat aging sarcopenia.

Store-operated Ca(2+) Entry (SOCE) Contributes to Normal Skeletal Muscle Contractility in Young but Not in Aged Skeletal Muscle

Muscle atrophy alone is insufficient to explain the significant decline in contractile force of skeletal muscle during normal aging. One contributing factor to decreased contractile force in aging skeletal muscle could be compromised excitation-contraction (E-C) coupling, without sufficient available Ca(2+) to allow for repetitive muscle contractility, skeletal muscles naturally become weaker. Using biophysical approaches, we previously showed that store-operated Ca(2+) entry (SOCE) is compromised in aged skeletal muscle but not in young ones. While important, a missing component from previous studies is whether or not SOCE function correlates with contractile function during aging. Here we test the contribution of extracellular Ca(2+) to contractile function of skeletal muscle during aging. First, we demonstrate graded coupling between SR Ca(2+) release channel-mediated Ca(2+) release and activation of SOCE. Inhibition of SOCE produced significant reduction of contractile force in young skeletal muscle, particularly at high frequency stimulation, and such effects were completely absent in aged skeletal muscle. Our data indicate that SOCE contributes to the normal physiological contractile response of young healthy skeletal muscle and that defective extracellular Ca(2+) entry through SOCE contributes to the reduced contractile force characteristic of aged skeletal muscle.

Kruppel-like Factor 15 Regulates Skeletal Muscle Lipid Flux and Exercise Adaptation

The ability of skeletal muscle to enhance lipid utilization during exercise is a form of metabolic plasticity essential for survival. Conversely, metabolic inflexibility in muscle can cause organ dysfunction and disease. Although the transcription factor Kruppel-like factor 15 (KLF15) is an important regulator of glucose and amino acid metabolism, its endogenous role in lipid homeostasis and muscle physiology is unknown. Here we demonstrate that KLF15 is essential for skeletal muscle lipid utilization and physiologic performance. KLF15 directly regulates a broad transcriptional program spanning all major segments of the lipid-flux pathway in muscle. Consequently, Klf15-deficient mice have abnormal lipid and energy flux, excessive reliance on carbohydrate fuels, exaggerated muscle fatigue, and impaired endurance exercise capacity. Elucidation of this heretofore unrecognized role for KLF15 now implicates this factor as a central component of the transcriptional circuitry that coordinates physiologic flux of all three basic cellular nutrients: glucose, amino acids, and lipids.

Jatropha Curcas: From Biodiesel Generation to Medicinal Applications

Jatropha curcas (JC) is a multipurpose perennial plant that belongs to the Euphorbiaceae family and is native to arid and semiarid tropical regions worldwide. It has many attributes and considerable potential for renewable energy, fish and livestock feeding. Despite its rich application as a renewable source and for animal feeding, JC has barely been explored for its medicinal potential. Here we review several patents related to JC that show it has been underused for medicinal purposes. For example, only one invention disclosure to date utilizes JC, combined with three other plants, in a preparation for wound healing. Motivated by support from the Brazilian funding agencies and anecdotal accounts in Brazil of the medicinal value of JC, we performed a series of pilot studies that demonstrate that JC is able to protect skeletal muscle cells in vitro against the deleterious effects of ethanol. We were able to determine that JC's effects are mediated by the up regulation of HSP60, a critical mitochondrial heat shock related protein that is essential for intracellular REDOX regulation. Given the fact that ethanol myopathy accounts for more than 50% of all cases of myopathy worldwide, we hope that our studies will sparkle new interest from the scientific community to explore the medicinal properties of Jatropha curcas, including the development of new patents leading to new drugs and new targets for the treatment of muscle diseases and other human diseases.

Hyperthermia: From Diagnostic and Treatments to New Discoveries

Hyperthermia is an important approach for the treatment of several diseases. Hyperthermia is also thought to induce hypertrophy of skeletal muscles in vitro and in vivo, and has been used as a therapeutic tool for millennia. In the first part of our work, we revise several relevant patents related to the utilization of hyperthermia for the treatment and diagnostic of human diseases. In the second part, we present exciting new data on the effects of forced and natural overexpression of HSP72, using murine in vitro (muscle cells) and ex vivo (primary skeletal muscles) models. These studies help to demonstrate that hyperthermia effects are orchestrated by tight coupling between gene expression, protein function, and intracellular Ca2+ signaling pathways with a key role for calcium-induced calcium release. We hope that the review of current patents along with previous unknown information on molecular signaling pathways that underlie the hypertrophy response to hyperthermia in skeletal muscles may trigger the curiosity of scientists worldwide to explore new inventions that fully utilize hyperthermia for the treatment of muscle diseases.

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