Angiotensin II (ANG II) plays a role in muscle wasting and remodeling; however, little evidence shows its direct effects on specific muscle functions. We presently investigated the acute in vitro effects of ANG II on resting ionic conductance and calcium homeostasis of mouse extensor digitorum longus (EDL) muscle fibers, based on previous findings that in vivo inhibition of ANG II counteracts the impairment of macroscopic ClC-1 chloride channel conductance (gCl) in the mdx mouse model of muscular dystrophy. By means of intracellular microelectrode recordings we found that ANG II reduced gCl in the nanomolar range and in a concentration-dependent manner (EC50 = 0.06 ?M) meanwhile increasing potassium conductance (gK). Both effects were inhibited by the ANG II receptors type 1 (AT1)-receptor antagonist losartan and the protein kinase C inhibitor chelerythrine; no antagonism was observed with the AT2 antagonist PD123,319. The scavenger of reactive oxygen species (ROS) N-acetyl cysteine and the NADPH-oxidase (NOX) inhibitor apocynin also antagonized ANG II effects on resting ionic conductances; the ANG II-dependent gK increase was blocked by iberiotoxin, an inhibitor of calcium-activated potassium channels. ANG II also lowered the threshold for myofiber and muscle contraction. Both ANG II and the AT1 agonist L162,313 increased the intracellular calcium transients, measured by fura-2, with a two-step pattern. These latter effects were not observed in the presence of losartan and of the phospholipase C inhibitor U73122 and the in absence of extracellular calcium, disclosing a Gq-mediated calcium entry mechanism. The data show for the first time that the AT1-mediated ANG II pathway, also involving NOX and ROS, directly modulates ion channels and calcium homeostasis in adult myofibers.
Weakness and fatigability are typical features of Duchenne muscular dystrophy patients and are aggravated in dystrophic mdx mice by chronic treadmill exercise. Mechanical activity modulates gene expression and muscle plasticity. Here, we investigated the outcome of 4 (T4, 8 weeks of age) and 12 (T12, 16 weeks of age) weeks of either exercise or cage-based activity on a large set of genes in the gastrocnemius muscle of mdx and wild-type (WT) mice using quantitative real-time PCR. Basal expression of the exercise-sensitive genes peroxisome-proliferator receptor ? coactivator 1? (Pgc-1?) and Sirtuin1 (Sirt1) was higher in mdx versus WT mice at both ages. Exercise increased Pgc-1? expression in WT mice; Pgc-1? was downregulated by T12 exercise in mdx muscles, along with Sirt1, Ppar? and the autophagy marker Bnip3. Sixteen weeks old mdx mice showed a basal overexpression of the slow Mhc1 isoform and Serca2; T12 exercise fully contrasted this basal adaptation as well as the high expression of follistatin and myogenin. Conversely, T12 exercise was ineffective in WT mice. Damage-related genes such as gp91-phox (NADPH-oxidase2), Tgf?, Tnf? and c-Src tyrosine kinase were overexpressed in mdx muscles and not affected by exercise. Likewise, the anti-inflammatory adiponectin was lower in T12-exercised mdx muscles. Chronic exercise with minor adaptive effects in WT muscles leads to maladaptation in mdx muscles with a disequilibrium between protective and damaging signals. Increased understanding of the pathways involved in the altered mechanical-metabolic coupling may help guide appropriate physical therapies while better addressing pharmacological interventions in translational research.
In skeletal muscle, the resting chloride conductance (gCl), due to the ClC-1 chloride channel, controls the sarcolemma electrical stability. Indeed, loss-of-function mutations in ClC-1 gene are responsible of myotonia congenita. The ClC-1 channel can be phosphorylated and inactivated by protein kinases C (PKC), but the relative contribution of each PKC isoforms is unknown. Here, we investigated on the role of PKC? in the regulation of ClC-1 channel expression and activity in fast- and slow-twitch muscles of mouse models lacking PKC?. Electrophysiological studies showed an increase of gCl in the PKC?-null mice with respect to wild type. Muscle excitability was reduced accordingly. However, the expression of the ClC-1 channel, evaluated by qRT-PCR, was not modified in PKC?-null muscles suggesting that PKC? affects the ClC-1 activity. Pharmacological studies demonstrated that although PKC? appreciably modulates gCl, other isoforms are still active and concur to this role. The modification of gCl in PKC?-null muscles has caused adaptation of the expression of phenotype-specific genes, such as calcineurin and myocyte enhancer factor-2, supporting the role of PKC? also in the settings of muscle phenotype. Importantly, the lack of PKC? has prevented the aging-related reduction of gCl, suggesting that its modulation may represent a new strategy to contrast the aging process.
Age-related skeletal muscle decline is characterized by the modification of sarcolemma ion channels important to sustain fiber excitability and to prevent metabolic dysfunction. Also, calcium homeostasis and contractile function are impaired. In the aim to understand whether these modifications are related to oxidative damage and can be reverted by antioxidant treatment, we examined the effects of in vivo treatment with an waste water polyphenolic mixture (LACHI MIX HT) supplied by LACHIFARMA S.r.l. Italy containing hydroxytirosol (HT), gallic acid, and homovanillic acid on the skeletal muscles of 27-month-old rats. After 6-week treatment, we found an improvement of chloride ClC-1 channel conductance, pivotal for membrane electrical stability, and of ATP-dependent potassium channel activity, important in coupling excitability with fiber metabolism. Both of them were analyzed using electrophysiological techniques. The treatment also restored the resting cytosolic calcium concentration, the sarcoplasmic reticulum calcium release, and the mechanical threshold for contraction, an index of excitation-contraction coupling mechanism. Muscle weight and blood creatine kinase levels were preserved in LACHI MIX HT-treated aged rats. The antioxidant activity of LACHI MIX HT was confirmed by the reduction of malondialdehyde levels in the brain of the LACHI MIX HT-treated aged rats. In comparison, the administration of purified HT was less effective on all the parameters studied. Although muscle function was not completely recovered, the present study provides evidence of the beneficial effects of LACHI MIX HT, a natural compound, to ameliorate skeletal muscle functional decline due to aging-associated oxidative stress.
Anabolic drugs may counteract muscle wasting and dysfunction in Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD); however, steroids have unwanted side effects. We focused on GLPG0492, a new non-steroidal selective androgen receptor modulator that is currently under development for musculo-skeletal diseases such as sarcopenia and cachexia. GLPG0492 was tested in the exercised mdx mouse model of DMD in a 4-week trial at a single high dose (30 mg/kg, 6 day/week s.c.), and the results were compared with those from the administration of ?-methylprednisolone (PDN; 1 mg/kg, i.p.) and nandrolone (NAND, 5 mg/kg, s.c.). This assessment was followed by a 12-week dose-dependence study (0.3-30 mg/kg s.c.). The outcomes were evaluated in vivo and ex vivo on functional, histological and biochemical parameters. Similar to PDN and NAND, GLPG0492 significantly increased mouse strength. In acute exhaustion tests, a surrogate of the 6-min walking test used in DMD patients, GLPG0492 preserved running performance, whereas vehicle- or comparator-treated animals showed a significant increase in fatigue (30-50%). Ex vivo, all drugs resulted in a modest but significant increase of diaphragm force. In parallel, a decrease in the non-muscle area and markers of fibrosis was observed in GLPG0492- and NAND-treated mice. The drugs exerted minor effects on limb muscles; however, electrophysiological biomarkers were ameliorated in extensor digitorum longus muscle. The longer dose-dependence study confirmed the effect on mdx mouse strength and resistance to fatigue and demonstrated the efficacy of lower drug doses on in vivo and ex vivo functional parameters. These results support the interest of further studies of GLPG0492 as a potential treatment for DMD.
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.
Emerging evidences suggest that Ca(2+)activated-K(+)-(BK) channel is involved in the regulation of cell viability. The changes of the cell viability observed under hyperkalemia (15 mEq/L) or hypokalemia (0.55 mEq/L) conditions were investigated in HEK293 cells expressing the hslo subunit (hslo-HEK293) in the presence or absence of BK channel modulators. The BK channel openers(10(-11)-10(-3)M) were: acetazolamide(ACTZ), Dichlorphenamide(DCP), methazolamide(MTZ), bendroflumethiazide(BFT), ethoxzolamide(ETX), hydrochlorthiazide(HCT), quercetin(QUERC), resveratrol(RESV) and NS1619; and the BK channel blockers(2 x 10(-7)M-5 x 10(-3)M) were: tetraethylammonium(TEA), iberiotoxin(IbTx) and charybdotoxin(ChTX). Experiments on cell viability and channel currents were performed using cell counting kit-8 and patch-clamp techniques, respectively. Hslo whole-cell current was potentiated by BK channel openers with different potency and efficacy in hslo-HEK293. The efficacy ranking of the openers at -60 mV(Vm) was BFT> ACTZ >DCP ?RESV? ETX> NS1619> MTZ? QUERC; HCT was not effective. Cell viability after 24 h of incubation under hyperkalemia was enhanced by 82+6% and 33+7% in hslo-HEK293 cells and HEK293 cells, respectively. IbTx, ChTX and TEA enhanced cell viability in hslo-HEK293. BK openers prevented the enhancement of the cell viability induced by hyperkalemia or IbTx in hslo-HEK293 showing an efficacy which was comparable with that observed as BK openers. BK channel modulators failed to affect cell currents and viability under hyperkalemia conditions in the absence of hslo subunit. In contrast, under hypokalemia cell viability was reduced by -22+4% and -23+6% in hslo-HEK293 and HEK293 cells, respectively; the BK channel modulators failed to affect this parameter in these cells. In conclusion, BK channel regulates cell viability under hyperkalemia but not hypokalemia conditions. BFT and ACTZ were the most potent drugs either in activating the BK current and in preventing the cell proliferation induced by hyperkalemia. These findings may have relevance in disorders associated with abnormal K(+) ion homeostasis including periodic paralysis and myotonia.
Statins and fibrates can cause myopathy. To further understand the causes of the damage we performed a proteome analysis in fast-twitch skeletal muscle of rats chronically treated with different hypolipidemic drugs. The proteomic maps were obtained from extensor digitorum longus (EDL) muscles of rats treated for 2-months with 10mg/kg atorvastatin, 20 mg/kg fluvastatin, 60 mg/kg fenofibrate and control rats. The proteins differentially expressed were identified by mass spectrometry and further analyzed by immunoblot analysis. We found a significant modification in 40 out of 417 total spots analyzed in atorvastatin treated rats, 15 out of 436 total spots in fluvastatin treated rats and 21 out of 439 total spots in fenofibrate treated rats in comparison to controls. All treatments induced a general tendency to a down-regulation of protein expression; in particular, atorvastatin affected the protein pattern more extensively with respect to the other treatments. Energy production systems, both oxidative and glycolytic enzymes and creatine kinase, were down-regulated following atorvastatin administration, whereas fenofibrate determined mostly alterations in glycolytic enzymes and creatine kinase, oxidative enzymes being relatively spared. Additionally, all treatments resulted in some modifications of proteins involved in cellular defenses against oxidative stress, such as heat shock proteins, and of myofibrillar proteins. These results were confirmed by immunoblot analysis. In conclusions, the proteomic analysis showed that either statin or fibrate administration can modify the expression of proteins essential for skeletal muscle function suggesting potential mechanisms for statin myopathy.
The involvement of ATP-sensitive K(+) (K(ATP)) channels in the atrophy of slow-twitch (MHC-I) soleus (SOL) and fast-twitch (MHC-IIa) flexor digitorum brevis (FDB) muscles was investigated in vivo in 14-day-hindlimb-unloaded (14-HU) rats, an animal model of disuse, and in vitro in drug-induced muscle atrophy. Patch-clamp and gene expression experiments were performed in combination with measurements of fibre diameters used as an index of atrophy, and with MHC labelling in 14-HU rats and controls. A down-regulation of K(ATP) channel subunits Kir6.2, SUR1 and SUR2B with marked atrophy and incomplete phenotype transition were observed in SOL of 14-HU rats. The observed changes in K(ATP) currents were well correlated with changes in fibre diameters and SUR1 expression, as well as with MHC-IIa expression. Half of the SOL fibres of 14-HU rats had reduced diameter and K(ATP) currents and were labelled by MHC-I antibodies. Non-atrophic fibres were labelled by MHC-IIa (22%) antibodies and had enhanced K(ATP) currents, or were labelled by MHC-I (28%) antibodies but had normal current. FDB was not affected in 14-HU rats and this is related to the high expression/activity of Kir6.2/SUR1 subunits characterizing this muscle phenotype. The long-term incubation of the control muscles in vitro with the K(ATP) channel blocker glibenclamide (10(6)m) reduced the K(ATP) currents with atrophy and these effects were prevented by the K(ATP) channel opener diazoxide (10(4)m). The in vivo down-regulation of SUR1, and possibly of Kir6.2 and SUR2B, or their in vitro pharmacological blockade activates atrophic signalling in skeletal muscle. All these findings suggest a new role for the K(ATP) channel as a molecular sensor of atrophy.
The phosphodiesterases inhibitor pentoxifylline gained attention for Duchenne muscular dystrophy therapy for its claimed anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antifibrotic action. A recent finding also showed that pentoxifylline counteracts the abnormal overactivity of a voltage-independent calcium channel in myofibers of dystrophic mdx mice. The possible link between workload, altered calcium homeostasis, and oxidative stress pushed toward a more detailed investigation. Thus a 4- to 8-wk treatment with pentoxifylline (50 mg x kg(-1) x day(-1) ip) was performed in mdx mice, undergoing or not a chronic exercise on treadmill. In vivo, the treatment partially increased forelimb strength and enhanced resistance to treadmill running in exercised animals. Ex vivo, pentoxifylline restored the mechanical threshold, an electrophysiological index of calcium homeostasis, and reduced resting cytosolic calcium in extensor digitorum longus muscle fibers. Mn quenching and patch-clamp technique confirmed that this effect was paralleled by a drug-induced reduction of membrane permeability to calcium. The treatment also significantly enhanced isometric tetanic tension in mdx diaphragm. The plasma levels of creatine kinase and reactive oxygen species were both significantly reduced in treated-exercised animals. Dihydroethidium staining, used as an indicator of reactive oxygen species production, showed that pentoxifylline significantly reduced the exercise-induced increase in fluorescence in the mdx tibialis anterior muscle. A significant decrease in connective tissue area and profibrotic cytokine transforming growth factor-beta(1) was solely found in tibialis anterior muscle. In both diaphragm and gastrocnemius muscle, a significant increase in neural cell adhesion molecule-positive area was instead observed. This data supports the interest toward pentoxifylline and allows insight in the level of cross talk between pathogenetic events in workloaded dystrophic muscle.
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