Nemaline myopathy is the most common disease entity among non-dystrophic skeletal muscle congenital diseases. The first disease causing mutation (Met9Arg) was identified in the gene encoding ?-tropomyosin slow gene (TPM3). Considering the conflicting findings of the previous studies on the transgenic (Tg) mice carrying the TPM3Met9Arg mutation, we investigated carefully the effect of the Met9Arg mutation in 8-9 month-old Tg(TPM3)Met9Arg mice on muscle function using a multiscale methodological approach including skinned muscle fibers analysis and in vivo investigations by magnetic resonance imaging and 31-phosphorus magnetic resonance spectroscopy. While in vitro maximal force production was reduced in Tg(TPM3)Met9Arg mice as compared to controls, in vivo measurements revealed an improved mechanical performance in the transgenic mice as compared to the former. The reduced in vitro muscle force might be related to alterations occurring at the cross-bridges level with muscle-specific underlying mechanisms. In vivo muscle improvement was not associated with any changes in either muscle volume or energy metabolism. Our findings indicate that TPM3(Met9Arg) mutation leads to a mild muscle weakness in vitro related to an alteration at the cross-bridges level and a paradoxical gain of muscle function in vivo. These results clearly point out that in vitro alterations are muscle-dependent and do not necessarily translate into similar changes in vivo.
Nemaline myopathy (NM), the most common non-dystrophic congenital disease of skeletal muscle, can be caused by mutations in the skeletal muscle ?-actin gene (ACTA1) (~25% of all NM cases and up to 50% of severe forms of NM). Muscle function of the recently generated transgenic mouse model carrying the human Asp286Gly mutation in the ACTA1 gene (Tg(ACTA1)(Asp286Gly)) has been mainly investigated in vitro. Therefore, we aimed at providing a comprehensive picture of the in vivo hindlimb muscle function of Tg(ACTA1)(Asp286Gly) mice by combining strictly noninvasive investigations. Skeletal muscle anatomy (hindlimb muscles, intramuscular fat volumes) and microstructure were studied using multimodal magnetic resonance imaging (Dixon, T2, Diffusion Tensor Imaging [DTI]). Energy metabolism was studied using 31-phosphorus Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy ((31)P-MRS). Skeletal muscle contractile performance was investigated while applying a force-frequency protocol (1-150 Hz) and a fatigue protocol (6 min-1.7 Hz). Tg(ACTA1)(Asp286Gly) mice showed a mild muscle weakness as illustrated by the reduction of both absolute (30%) and specific (15%) maximal force production. Dixon MRI did not show discernable fatty infiltration in Tg(ACTA1)(Asp286Gly) mice indicating that this mouse model does not reproduce human MRI findings. Increased T2 values were observed in Tg(ACTA1)(Asp286Gly) mice and might reflect the occurrence of muscle degeneration/regeneration process. Interestingly, T2 values were linearly related to muscle weakness. DTI experiments indicated lower ?2 and ?3 values in Tg(ACTA1)(Asp286Gly) mice, which might be associated to muscle atrophy and/or the presence of histological anomalies. Finally (31)P-MRS investigations illustrated an increased anaerobic energy cost of contraction in Tg(ACTA1)(Asp286Gly) mice, which might be ascribed to contractile and non-contractile processes. Overall, we provide a unique set of information about the anatomic, metabolic and functional consequences of the Asp286Gly mutation that might be considered as relevant biomarkers for monitoring the severity and/or the progression of NM and for assessing the efficacy of potential therapeutic interventions.
Nemaline myopathy (NM) is the most common disease entity among non-dystrophic skeletal muscle congenital diseases. Mutations in the skeletal muscle ?-actin gene (ACTA1) account for ?25% of all NM cases and are the most frequent cause of severe forms of NM. So far, the mechanisms underlying muscle weakness in NM patients remain unclear. Additionally, recent Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) studies reported a progressive fatty infiltration of skeletal muscle with a specific muscle involvement in patients with ACTA1 mutations. We investigated strictly noninvasively the gastrocnemius muscle function of a mouse model carrying a mutation in the ACTA1 gene (H40Y). Skeletal muscle anatomy (hindlimb muscles and fat volumes) and energy metabolism were studied using MRI and (31)Phosphorus magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Skeletal muscle contractile performance was investigated while applying a force-frequency protocol (from 1-150 Hz) and a fatigue protocol (80 stimuli at 40 Hz). H40Y mice showed a reduction of both absolute (-40%) and specific (-25%) maximal force production as compared to controls. Interestingly, muscle weakness was associated with an improved resistance to fatigue (+40%) and an increased energy cost. On the contrary, the force frequency relationship was not modified in H40Y mice and the extent of fatty infiltration was minor and not different from the WT group. We concluded that the H40Y mouse model does not reproduce human MRI findings but shows a severe muscle weakness which might be related to an alteration of intrinsic muscular properties. The increased energy cost in H40Y mice might be related to either an impaired mitochondrial function or an alteration at the cross-bridges level. Overall, we provided a unique set of anatomic, metabolic and functional biomarkers that might be relevant for monitoring the progression of NM disease but also for assessing the efficacy of potential therapeutic interventions at a preclinical level.
With a remarkable plasticity, skeletal muscle adapts to an altered functional demand. Muscle angio-adaptation can either involve the growth or the regression of capillaries as respectively observed in response to endurance training or muscle unloading. Whereas the molecular mechanisms that regulate exercise-induced muscle angiogenesis have been extensively studied, understanding how muscle unloading can in contrast lead to capillary regression has received very little attention. Here we have investigated the consequences of a 9 day time course hindlimb unloading on both capillarization and expression of angio-adaptive molecules in two different rat skeletal muscles. Both soleus and plantaris muscles were atrophied similarly. In contrast, our results have shown different angio-adaptive patterns between these two muscles. Capillary regression occurred only in the soleus, a slow-twitch and oxidative postural muscle. Conversely, the level of capillarization was preserved in the plantaris, a fast-twitch and glycolytic muscle. We have also measured the time course protein expression of key pro- and anti-angiogenic signals (VEGF-A, VEGF-B, VEGF-R2, TSP-1). Our results have revealed that the angio-adaptive response to unloading was muscle-type specific, and that an integrated balance between pro- and anti-angiogenic signals plays a determinant role in regulating this process. In conclusion, we have brought new evidence that measuring the ratio between pro- and anti-angiogenic signals in order to evaluate muscle angio-adaptation was a more accurate approach than analysing the expression of molecular factors taken individually.
Vasohibin-1 (VASH-1) was recently identified as a negative feedback regulator of angiogenesis. Here, we analyzed how the expression of the two active anti-angiogenic VASH-1 isoforms p36 and p42 was altered during physiological and pathological muscle angio-adaptation. Our results showed that VASH-1 protein expression was muscle-type specific, with higher levels detected in less vascularized muscles. In rat plantaris and heart muscles, the expression of VASH-1 protein was decreased in response to exercise training, a physiological pro-angiogenic stimulus leading to muscle capillary growth. Interestingly, expression patterns for p36 and p42 were different between plantaris and heart muscles. Next, we analyzed the time-course expression of VASH-1 isoforms in rat soleus muscles subjected to hindlimb unloading, a model that induces muscle capillary regression. Both p36 and p42 isoforms were increased, a signal in favor of some vessel destabilization and regression. Finally, we investigated VASH-1 expression in plantaris muscles from Zucker Diabetic Fatty rats (ZDF) that develop obesity and type-2 diabetes associated with a loss of capillaries in skeletal muscle. VASH-1 expression was higher in sedentary ZDF rats when compared to lean animals, suggesting its potential role during capillary regression. Interestingly, a physiological VASH-1 level was efficiently restored in spontaneously active ZDF animals where muscle capillarization was preserved. In conclusion, our results bring evidence that endogenous VASH-1 isoforms p36 and p42 are key actors of physiological and pathological muscle angio-adaptation.
Skeletal muscle capillarisation responds to physiological and pathological conditions with a remarkable plasticity. Angiomotin was recently identified as a new pro-angiogenic molecule. Angiomotin is expressed as two protein isoforms, p80 and p130. Whereas p80 stimulates endothelial cell migration and angiogenesis, p130 is rather characteristic of stabilized and matured vessels. To date, how angiomotin expression is physiologically regulated in vivo remains largely unknown. We thus investigated (1) whether angiomotin was physiologically expressed in skeletal muscle; (2) whether exercise training, known to stimulate muscle angiogenesis, affected angiomotin expression; and (3) whether such regulation was altered in obesity, a pathological situation often associated with an impaired angiogenic activity and some capillary rarefaction in skeletal muscle. Two models of obesity were used: a high fat diet regime and Zucker Diabetic Fatty rats (ZDF). Our results provide evidence that angiomotin was expressed both in capillaries and myofibres. In non-obese rats, the p80 isoform was increased in plantaris muscle in response to endurance training whereas p130 was unaffected. In obese animals, no change was observed for p80 whereas training significantly decreased p130 expression. Exercise training induced angiogenesis in plantaris from both obese and non-obese rats, possibly through the modulation of angiomotin level and its consequences on RhoA-ROCK signalling. In conclusion, any increase in p80 or decrease in p130, as respectively observed in non-obese and obese animals, led to an increased ratio between p80 and p130 isoforms. This increased angiomotin p80/p130 ratio might then directly reflect the enhanced angiogenic ability of skeletal muscle in response to exercise training.
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