Antioxidant administration aimed to antagonize the development and progression of disuse muscle atrophy provided controversial results. Here we investigated the effects of curcumin, a vegetal polyphenol with pleiotropic biological activity, because of its ability to upregulate glucose-regulated protein 94 kDa (Grp94) expression in myogenic cells. Grp94 is a sarco-endoplasmic reticulum chaperone, the levels of which decrease significantly in unloaded muscle. Rats were injected intraperitoneally with curcumin and soleus muscle was analysed after 7 days of hindlimb unloading or standard caging. Curcumin administration increased Grp94 protein levels about twofold in muscles of ambulatory rats (P < 0.05) and antagonized its decrease in unloaded ones. Treatment countered loss of soleus mass and myofibre cross-sectional area by approximately 30% (P ? 0.02) and maintained a force-frequency relationship closer to ambulatory levels. Indexes of muscle protein and lipid oxidation, such as protein carbonylation, revealed by Oxyblot, and malondialdehyde, measured with HPLC, were significantly blunted in unloaded treated rats compared to untreated ones (P = 0.01). Mechanistic involvement of Grp94 was suggested by the disruption of curcumin-induced attenuation of myofibre atrophy after transfection with antisense grp94 cDNA and by the drug-positive effect on the maintenance of the subsarcolemmal localization of active neuronal nitric oxide synthase molecules, which were displaced to the sarcoplasm by unloading. The absence of additive effects after combined administration of a neuronal nitric oxide synthase inhibitor further supported curcumin interference with this pro-atrophic pathway. In conclusion, curcumin represents an effective and safe tool to upregulate Grp94 muscle levels and to maintain muscle function during unweighting.
Facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD), a common hereditary myopathy, is characterized by atrophy and weakness of selective muscle groups. FSHD is considered an autosomal dominant disease with incomplete penetrance and unpredictable variability of clinical expression within families. Mice over-expressing FRG1 (FSHD region gene 1), a candidate gene for this disease, develop a progressive myopathy with features of the human disorder. Here we show that in FRG1 over-expressing mice, fast muscles, which are the most affected by the dystrophic process, display anomalous fast skeletal troponin T (fTnT) isoform resulting from the aberrant splicing of the Tnnt3 mRNA that precedes the appearance of dystrophic signs. We determine that muscles of FRG1 mice develop less strength due to impaired contractile properties of fast-twitch fibers associated with an anomalous MyHC/actin ratio and a reduced sensitivity to Ca2+. We demonstrate that the decrease of Ca2+ sensitivity of fast-twitch fibers depends on the anomalous troponin complex and can be rescued by the substitution with the wild-type proteins. Finally, we find that the presence of aberrant splicing isoforms of TNNT3 characterizes dystrophic muscles in FSHD patients. Collectively, our results suggest that anomalous TNNT3 profile correlates with the muscle impairment in both humans and mice. On the basis of these results, we propose that aberrant fTnT represents a biological marker of muscle phenotype severity and disease progression.
Pleiotrophin (PTN) is a widespread cytokine involved in bone formation, neurite outgrowth, and angiogenesis. In skeletal muscle, PTN is upregulated during myogenesis, post-synaptic induction, and regeneration after crushing, but little is known regarding its effects on muscle function. Here, we describe the effects of PTN on the slow-twitch soleus and fast-twitch extensor digitorum longus (EDL) muscles in mice over-expressing PTN under the control of a bone promoter. The mice were maintained in normal loading or disuse condition, induced by hindlimb unloading (HU) for 14 days. Effects of exposition to near-zero gravity during a 3-months spaceflight (SF) into the Mice Drawer System are also reported. In normal loading, PTN overexpression had no effect on muscle fiber cross-sectional area, but shifted soleus muscle toward a slower phenotype, as shown by an increased number of oxidative type 1 fibers, and increased gene expression of cytochrome c oxidase subunit IV and citrate synthase. The cytokine increased soleus and EDL capillary-to-fiber ratio. PTN overexpression did not prevent soleus muscle atrophy, slow-to-fast transition, and capillary regression induced by SF and HU. Nevertheless, PTN exerted various effects on sarcolemma ion channel expression/function and resting cytosolic Ca(2+) concentration in soleus and EDL muscles, in normal loading and after HU. In conclusion, the results show very similar effects of HU and SF on mouse soleus muscle, including activation of specific gene programs. The EDL muscle is able to counterbalance this latter, probably by activating compensatory mechanisms. The numerous effects of PTN on muscle gene expression and functional parameters demonstrate the sensitivity of muscle fibers to the cytokine. Although little benefit was found in HU muscle disuse, PTN may emerge useful in various muscle diseases, because it exerts synergetic actions on muscle fibers and vessels, which could enforce oxidative metabolism and ameliorate muscle performance.
Slow-twitch muscles, devoted to postural maintenance, experience atrophy and weakness during muscle disuse due to bed-rest, aging or spaceflight. These conditions impair motion activities and can have survival implications. Human and animal studies demonstrate the anabolic role of IGF-1 on skeletal muscle suggesting its interest as a muscle disuse countermeasure. Thus, we tested the role of IGF-1 overexpression on skeletal muscle alteration due to hindlimb unloading (HU) by using MLC/mIgf-1 transgenic mice expressing IGF-1 under the transcriptional control of MLC promoter, selectively activated in skeletal muscle. HU produced atrophy in soleus muscle, in terms of muscle weight and fiber cross-sectional area (CSA) reduction, and up-regulation of atrophy gene MuRF1. In parallel, the disuse-induced slow-to-fast fiber transition was confirmed by an increase of the fast-type of the Myosin Heavy Chain (MHC), a decrease of PGC-1? expression and an increase of histone deacetylase-5 (HDAC5). Consistently, functional parameters such as the resting chloride conductance (gCl) together with ClC-1 chloride channel expression were increased and the contractile parameters were modified in soleus muscle of HU mice. Surprisingly, IGF-1 overexpression in HU mice was unable to counteract the loss of muscle weight and the decrease of fiber CSA. However, the expression of MuRF1 was recovered, suggesting early effects on muscle atrophy. Although the expression of PGC-1? and MHC were not improved in IGF-1-HU mice, the expression of HDAC5 was recovered. Importantly, the HU-induced increase of gCl was fully contrasted in IGF-1 transgenic mice, as well as the changes in contractile parameters. These results indicate that, even if local expression does not seem to attenuate HU-induced atrophy and slow-to-fast phenotype transition, it exerts early molecular effects on gene expression which can counteract the HU-induced modification of electrical and contractile properties. MuRF1 and HDAC5 can be attractive therapeutic targets for pharmacological countermeasures and then deserve further investigations.
Sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P) is a bioactive lipid known to control cell growth that was recently shown to act as a trophic factor for skeletal muscle, reducing the progress of denervation atrophy. The aim of this work was to investigate whether S1P is involved in skeletal muscle fiber recovery (regeneration) after myotoxic injury induced by bupivacaine. The postnatal ability of skeletal muscle to grow and regenerate is dependent on resident stem cells called satellite cells. Immunofluorescence analysis demonstrated that S1P-specific receptors S1P(1) and S1P(3) are expressed by quiescent satellite cells. Soleus muscles undergoing regeneration following injury induced by intramuscular injection of bupivacaine exhibited enhanced expression of S1P(1) receptor, while S1P(3) expression progressively decreased to adult levels. S1P(2) receptor was absent in quiescent cells but was transiently expressed in the early regenerating phases only. Administration of S1P (50 microM) at the moment of myotoxic injury caused a significant increase of the mean cross-sectional area of regenerating fibers in both rat and mouse. In separate experiments designed to test the trophic effects of S1P, neutralization of endogenous circulating S1P by intraperitoneal administration of anti-S1P antibody attenuated fiber growth. Use of selective modulators of S1P receptors indicated that S1P(1) receptor negatively and S1P(3) receptor positively modulate the early phases of regeneration, whereas S1P(2) receptor appears to be less important. The present results show that S1P signaling participates in the regenerative processes of skeletal muscle.
To define the time course and potential effects of electrical stimulation on permanently denervated muscle, we evaluated excitation-contraction coupling (ECC) of rat leg muscles during progression to long-term denervation by ultrastructural analysis, specific binding to dihydropyridine receptors, ryanodine receptor 1 (RYR-1), Ca channels and extrusion Ca pumps, gene transcription and translation of Ca-handling proteins, and in vitro mechanical properties and electrophysiological analyses of sarcolemmal passive properties and L-type Ca current (ICa) parameters. We found that in response to long-term denervation: 1) isolated muscle that is unable to twitch in vitro by electrical stimulation has very small myofibers but may show a slow caffeine contracture; 2) only roughly half of the muscle fibers with "voltage-dependent Ca channel activity" are able to contract; 3) the ECC mechanisms are still present and, in part, functional; 4)ECC-related gene expression is upregulated; and 5) at any time point, there are muscle fibers that are more resistant than others to denervation atrophy and disorganization of the ECC apparatus. These results support the hypothesis that prolonged "resting" [Ca] may drive progression of muscle atrophy to degeneration and that electrical stimulation-induced [Ca] modulation may mimic the lost nerve influence, playing a key role in modifying the gene expression of denervated muscle. Hence, these data provide a potential molecular explanation for the muscle recovery that occurs in response to rehabilitation strategies developed based on empirical clinical observations.
Skeletal muscle atrophy and decreased expression of slow fibers contribute to exercise capacity limitation in Chronic Heart Failure (CHF). Pro-inflammatory cytokines and free radicals worsen muscle damage. In CHF sarcomeric proteins are oxidized with reduction of muscle twitch efficiency, and VO(2)-max. Beta-blockers with anti-oxidative capacity such as carvedilol have been shown to prevent contractile protein oxidation in CHF rats. Recently a new class of beta-blockers with NO donor activity has been introduced and approved for the treatment of CHF. Since a clinical clear superiority of a beta-blocker has never been shown, we compared nebivolol, that possesses NO donor activity, with bisoprolol, looking at possible differences in skeletal muscle that may have an impact on muscle function and exercise capacity in humans. We therefore studied skeletal muscle apoptosis and wastage, sarcomeric protein composition and oxidation, and muscle efficiency.
The purpose of this study was to assess the cardiovascular effects of drugs used for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children and adolescents treated in community care centers in Italy.
Sphingosine 1-phosphate is a bioactive lipid that modulates skeletal muscle growth through its interaction with specific receptors localized in the cell membrane of muscle fibers and satellite cells. This study analyzes the role of S1P(2) receptor during in vivo regeneration of soleus muscle in two models of S1P(2) deficiency: the S1P(2)-null mouse and wild-type mice systemically treated with the S1P(2) receptor antagonist JTE-013. To stimulate regeneration, muscle degeneration was induced by injecting into soleus muscle the myotoxic drug notexin. Both ablation of S1P(2) receptor and its functional inactivation delayed regeneration of soleus muscle. The exogenous supplementation of S1P or its removal, by a specific antibody, two conditions known to stimulate or inhibit, respectively, soleus muscle regeneration, were without effects when the S1P(2) receptor was absent or inactive. The delayed regeneration was associated with a lower level of myogenin, a muscle differentiation marker, and reduced phosphorylation of Akt, a key marker of muscle growth. Consistently, silencing of S1P(2) receptor abrogated the pro-myogenic action of S1P in satellite cells, paralleled by low levels of the myogenic transcription factor myogenin. The study indicates that S1P(2) receptor plays a key role in the early phases of muscle regeneration by sustaining differentiation and growth of new-forming myofibers.
The effect of microgravity on skeletal muscles has so far been examined in rat and mice only after short-term (5-20 day) spaceflights. The mice drawer system (MDS) program, sponsored by Italian Space Agency, for the first time aimed to investigate the consequences of long-term (91 days) exposure to microgravity in mice within the International Space Station. Muscle atrophy was present indistinctly in all fiber types of the slow-twitch soleus muscle, but was only slightly greater than that observed after 20 days of spaceflight. Myosin heavy chain analysis indicated a concomitant slow-to-fast transition of soleus. In addition, spaceflight induced translocation of sarcolemmal nitric oxide synthase-1 (NOS1) into the cytosol in soleus but not in the fast-twitch extensor digitorum longus (EDL) muscle. Most of the sarcolemmal ion channel subunits were up-regulated, more in soleus than EDL, whereas Ca(2+)-activated K(+) channels were down-regulated, consistent with the phenotype transition. Gene expression of the atrophy-related ubiquitin-ligases was up-regulated in both spaceflown soleus and EDL muscles, whereas autophagy genes were in the control range. Muscle-specific IGF-1 and interleukin-6 were down-regulated in soleus but up-regulated in EDL. Also, various stress-related genes were up-regulated in spaceflown EDL, not in soleus. Altogether, these results suggest that EDL muscle may resist to microgravity-induced atrophy by activating compensatory and protective pathways. Our study shows the extended sensitivity of antigravity soleus muscle after prolonged exposition to microgravity, suggests possible mechanisms accounting for the resistance of EDL, and individuates some molecular targets for the development of countermeasures.
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