Muscle-specific ankyrins 1 (sAnk1) are a group of small ankyrin 1 isoforms, of which sAnk1.5 is the most abundant. sAnk1 are localized in the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) membrane from where they interact with obscurin, a myofibrillar protein. This interaction appears to contribute to stabilize the SR close to the myofibrils. Here we report the structural and functional characterization of skeletal muscles from sAnk1 knockout mice (KO). Deletion of sAnk1 did not change the expression and localization of SR proteins in 4-6 month old sAnk1 KO mice. Structurally, the main modification observed in skeletal muscles of adult sAnk1 KO mice (4-6 months of age) was the reduction of SR volume at the sarcomere A band level. With increasing age (at 12-15 months) EDL skeletal muscles of sAnk1 KO mice develop prematurely large tubular aggregates, whereas diaphragm undergoes significant structural damage. Parallel functional studies revealed specific changes in the contractile performance of muscles from sAnk1 KO mice and a reduced exercise tolerance in an endurance test on treadmill compared to control mice. Moreover, reduced Q? charge and L-type Ca(2+)current, that are indexes of affected e-c coupling, were observed in diaphragm fibers from 12-15 month old mice, but not in other skeletal muscles from sAnk1 KO mice. Altogether, these findings show that the ablation of sAnk1, by altering the organization of the SR, renders skeletal muscles susceptible to undergo structural and functional alterations more evident with age, and point to an important contribution of sAnk1 to the maintenance of the longitudinal SR architecture.
A missense mutation in the calsequestrin-1 gene (CASQ1) was found in a group of patients with a myopathy characterized by weakness, fatigue, and the presence of large vacuoles containing characteristic inclusions resulting from the aggregation of sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) proteins. The mutation affects a conserved aspartic acid in position 244 (p.Asp244Gly) located in one of the high-affinity Ca(2+) -binding sites of CASQ1 and alters the kinetics of Ca(2+) release in muscle fibers. Expression of the mutated CASQ1 protein in COS-7 cells showed a markedly reduced ability in forming elongated polymers, whereas both in cultured myotubes and in in vivo mouse fibers induced the formation of electron-dense SR vacuoles containing aggregates of the mutant CASQ1 protein that resemble those observed in muscle biopsies of patients. Altogether, these results support the view that a single missense mutation in the CASQ1 gene causes the formation of abnormal SR vacuoles containing aggregates of CASQ1, and other SR proteins, results in altered Ca(2+) release in skeletal muscle fibers, and, hence, is responsible for the clinical phenotype observed in these patients.
Abstract Myostatin (MSTN) is a negative regulator of muscle growth even if some studies have shown a counterintuitive positive correlation between MSTN and muscle mass (MM). Our aim was to investigate the influence of 2 months of resistance training (RT) and diets with different protein contents on plasma MSTN, interleukin 1 beta (IL-1?), interleukin 6 (IL-6), tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-?), and insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1). Eighteen healthy volunteers were randomly divided in two groups: high protein (HP) and normal protein (NP) groups. Different protein diet contents were 1.8 and 0.85?g of protein·kg bw(-1)·day(-1) for HP and NP, respectively. Subjects underwent 8 weeks of standardized progressive RT. MSTN, IGF-1, IL-1?, IL-6, and TNF-? were analyzed before and after the first and the last training sessions. Lean body mass, MM, upper-limb muscle area, and strength were measured. Plasma MSTN showed a significant increase (P<.001) after the last training in the HP group compared with NP group and with starting value. IGF-1 plasma concentration showed a positive correlation with MSTN in HP after the last training (r(2)=0.6456; P=.0295). No significant differences were found between NP and HP for IL-1?, IL-6, TNF-?, and strength and MM or area. These findings suggest a "paradoxical" postexercise increase of plasma MSTN after 8 weeks of RT and HP diets. This MSTN elevation correlates positively with IGF-1 plasma level. This double increase of opposite (catabolic/anabolic) mediators could explain the substantial overlapping of MM increases in the two groups.
Gemcitabine is first-line therapy for advanced pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) with a poor survival and response rate. Hyperbaric oxygenation (HBO) enhances delivery of oxygen to hypoxic tumor cells and increases their susceptibility to cytotoxic effects of chemotherapy. We hypothesized that the anticancer activity of gemcitabine (GEM) may be enhanced if tumor cells are placed in an oxygen-rich environment. The present study evaluated the effects of gemcitabine, HBO and their combination on apoptosis of tumor cells.
The aim of our study was to investigate fiber type distribution and contractile characteristics of Latissimus Dorsi muscle (LDM). Samples were collected from 18 young healthy subjects (9 males and 9 females) through percutaneous fine needle muscle biopsy. The results showed a predominance of fast myosin heavy chain isoforms (MyHC) with 42% of MyHC 2A and 25% of MyHC 2X, while MyHC 1 represented only 33%. The unbalance toward fast isoforms was even greater in males (71%) than in females (64%). Fiber type distribution partially reflected MyHC isoform distribution with 28% type 1/slow fibers and 5% hybrid 1/2A fibers, while fast fibers were divided into 30% type 2A, 31% type A/X, 4% type X, and 2% type 1/2X. Type 1/slow fibers were not only less abundant but also smaller in cross-sectional area than fast fibers. During maximal isometric contraction, type 1/slow fibers developed force and tension significantly lower than the two major groups of fast fibers. In conclusion, the predominance of fast fibers and their greater size and strength compared to slow fibers reveal that LDM is a muscle specialized mainly in phasic and powerful activity. Importantly, such specialization is more pronounced in males than in females.
Cell size is determined by the balance between protein synthesis and degradation. This equilibrium is affected by hormones, nutrients, energy levels, mechanical stress and cytokines. Mutations that inactivate myostatin lead to excessive muscle growth in animals and humans, but the signals and pathways responsible for this hypertrophy remain largely unknown. Here we show that bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) signaling, acting through Smad1, Smad5 and Smad8 (Smad1/5/8), is the fundamental hypertrophic signal in mice. Inhibition of BMP signaling causes muscle atrophy, abolishes the hypertrophic phenotype of myostatin-deficient mice and strongly exacerbates the effects of denervation and fasting. BMP-Smad1/5/8 signaling negatively regulates a gene (Fbxo30) that encodes a ubiquitin ligase required for muscle loss, which we named muscle ubiquitin ligase of the SCF complex in atrophy-1 (MUSA1). Collectively, these data identify a critical role for the BMP pathway in adult muscle maintenance, growth and atrophy.
Mitochondrial calcium handling and its relation with calcium released from sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) in muscle tissue are subject of lively debate. In this study we aimed to clarify how the SR determines mitochondrial calcium handling using dCASQ-null mice which lack both isoforms of the major Ca(2+)-binding protein inside SR, calsequestrin. Mitochondrial free Ca(2+)-concentration ([Ca(2+)]mito) was determined by means of a genetically targeted ratiometric FRET-based probe. Electron microscopy revealed a highly significant increase in intermyofibrillar mitochondria (+55%) and augmented coupling (+12%) between Ca(2+) release units of the SR and mitochondria in dCASQ-null vs. WT fibers. Significant differences in the baseline [Ca(2+)]mito were observed between quiescent WT and dCASQ-null fibers, but not in the resting cytosolic Ca(2+) concentration. The rise in [Ca(2+)]mito during electrical stimulation occurred in 20-30 ms, while the decline during and after stimulation was governed by 4 rate constants of approximately 40, 1.6, 0.2 and 0.03 s(-1). Accordingly, frequency-dependent increase in [Ca(2+)]mito occurred during sustained contractions. In dCASQ-null fibers the increases in [Ca(2+)]mito were less pronounced than in WT fibers and even lower when extracellular calcium was removed. The amplitude and duration of [Ca(2+)]mito transients were increased by inhibition of mitochondrial Na(+)/Ca(2+) exchanger (mNCX). These results provide direct evidence for fast Ca(2+) accumulation inside the mitochondria, involvement of the mNCX in mitochondrial Ca(2+)-handling and a dependence of mitochondrial Ca(2+)-handling on intracellular (SR) and external Ca(2+) stores in fast skeletal muscle fibers. dCASQ-null mice represent a model for malignant hyperthermia. The differences in structure and in mitochondrial function observed relative to WT may represent compensatory mechanisms for the disease-related reduction of calcium storage capacity of the SR and/or SR Ca(2+)-leakage.
Several studies documented the key role of oxidative stress and abnormal production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in the pathophysiology of muscular dystrophies (MDs). The sources of ROS, however, are still controversial as well as their major molecular targets. This study investigated whether ROS produced in mitochondria by monoamine oxidase (MAO) contributes to MD pathogenesis. Pargyline, an MAO inhibitor, reduced ROS accumulation along with a beneficial effect on the dystrophic phenotype of Col6a1(-/-) mice, a model of Bethlem myopathy and Ullrich congenital MD, and mdx mice, a model of Duchenne MD. Based on our previous observations on oxidative damage of myofibrillar proteins in heart failure, we hypothesized that MAO-dependent ROS might impair contractile function in dystrophic muscles. Indeed, oxidation of myofibrillar proteins, as probed by formation of disulphide cross-bridges in tropomyosin, was detected in both Col6a1(-/-) and mdx muscles. Notably, pargyline significantly reduced myofiber apoptosis and ameliorated muscle strength in Col6a1(-/-) mice. This study demonstrates a novel and determinant role of MAO in MDs, adding evidence of the pivotal role of mitochondria and suggesting a therapeutic potential for MAO inhibition.
The muscle biopsy based on the Bergström needle has been widely used for more than 40 y for diagnosis and experimental studies on muscle. More recently, thinner needles and tru-cut needles have also been introduced. Such techniques have been largely tested on various muscles, including the quadriceps, with few studies on upper limb muscles like deltoid, and no studies on latissimus dorsi muscle (LDM). In this study, we implemented and validated a protocol to collect samples of LDM for experimental purposes, causing minimal discomfort to volunteers. Two main problems were considered: the anatomical localization of the biopsy site and the selection of an appropriate needle.
It is commonly accepted that skeletal muscles from dystrophin-deficient mdx mice are more susceptible than those from wild-type mice to damage from eccentric contractions. However, the downstream mechanisms involved in this enhanced force drop remain controversial. We studied the reduction of contractile force induced by eccentric contractions elicited in vivo in the gastrocnemius muscle of wild-type mice and three distinct models of muscle dystrophy: mdx, alpha-sarcoglycan (Sgca)-null, and collagen 6A1 (Col6a1)-null mice. In mdx and Sgca-null mice, force decreased 35% compared with 14% in wild-type mice. Drop of force in Col6a1-null mice was comparable to that in wild-type mice. To identify the determinants of the force drop, we measured force generation in permeabilized fibers dissected from gastrocnemius muscle that had been exposed in vivo to eccentric contractions and from the contralateral unstimulated muscle. A force loss in skinned fibers after in vivo eccentric contractions was detectable in fibers from mdx and Sgca-null, but not wild-type and Col6a1-null, mice. The enhanced force reduction in mdx and Sgca-null mice was observed only when eccentric contractions were elicited in vivo, since eccentric contractions elicited in vitro had identical effects in wild-type and dystrophic skinned fibers. These results suggest that 1) the enhanced force loss is due to a myofibrillar impairment that is present in all fibers, and not to individual fiber degeneration, and 2) the mechanism causing the enhanced force reduction is active in vivo and is lost after fiber permeabilization.
Several studies have examined the effects of vibrations on muscle mass and performance in young healthy people. We studied the effects of vibrations on muscles of elderly male and female volunteers (65-85 years of age) diagnosed with sarcopenia. We applied mechanical vibrations locally (local vibrational training) to the thigh muscles at 300 Hz for a period of 12 weeks, starting with a session of 15 min stimulation once a week and increasing to three sessions of 15 min per week. Treated muscles displayed enhanced maximal isometric strength and increased content of fast MyHC-2X myosin. Single muscle fiber analysis did not show any change in cross-sectional area or in specific tension. Analysis of transcriptional profiles by microarray revealed changes in gene expression after 12 weeks of local vibrational training. In particular, pathways related with energy metabolism, sarcomeric protein balance and oxidative stress response were affected. We conclude that vibration treatment is effective in counteracting the loss of muscular strength associated with sarcopenia and the mode of action of vibration is based on cellular and molecular changes which do not include increase in fiber or muscle size.
A better understanding of the signaling pathways that control muscle growth is required to identify appropriate countermeasures to prevent or reverse the loss of muscle mass and force induced by aging, disuse, or neuromuscular diseases. However, two major issues in this field have not yet been fully addressed. The first concerns the pathways involved in leading to physiological changes in muscle size. Muscle hypertrophy based on perturbations of specific signaling pathways is either characterized by impaired force generation, e.g., myostatin knockout, or incompletely studied from the physiological point of view, e.g., IGF-1 overexpression. A second issue is whether satellite cell proliferation and incorporation into growing muscle fibers is required for a functional hypertrophy. To address these issues, we used an inducible transgenic model of muscle hypertrophy by short-term Akt activation in adult skeletal muscle. In this model, Akt activation for 3 wk was followed by marked hypertrophy ( approximately 50% of muscle mass) and by increased force generation, as determined in vivo by ankle plantar flexor stimulation, ex vivo in intact isolated diaphragm strips, and in single-skinned muscle fibers. No changes in fiber-type distribution and resistance to fatigue were detectable. Bromodeoxyuridine incorporation experiments showed that Akt-dependent muscle hypertrophy was accompanied by proliferation of interstitial cells but not by satellite cell activation and new myonuclei incorporation, pointing to an increase in myonuclear domain size. We can conclude that during a fast hypertrophic growth myonuclear domain can increase without compromising muscle performance.
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.
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