As the first step in evaluating the possibility of low-temperature atmospheric plasma for clinical applications in the treatment of rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS), we determined the effects of plasma exposure on C2C12 myoblasts. The low-temperature atmospheric plasma was generated through an electrical discharge in argon gas. One minute of plasma exposure every 24 h inhibited the cell proliferation, whereas myoblast differentiation was not affected. Plasma exposure increased the phosphorylation of ERK and JNK at 30 min after the exposure, but the phosphorylation of both was decreased to less than control levels at 1 and 4 h after the exposure. Plasma exposure increased the percentage of cells in the G2/M phase at 8 h after the exposure. In conclusion, plasma exposure retarded the proliferation of C2C12 myoblasts by G2/M arrest. Therefore, plasma exposure can be a possible treatment for the anti-proliferative effects of malignant tumors, such as RMS, without affecting differentiated skeletal muscle cells.
Although rat anti-mouse IL-6 receptor (IL-6R) antibody (MR16-1) has been reported to effectively ameliorate various tissue damages, its effect on skeletal muscle regeneration has not been determined. Moreover, the localization, persistence and duration of action of this reagent in damaged tissues after systemic administration have not been assessed.
The effects of 3 months of spaceflight (SF), hindlimb suspension, or exposure to 2G on the characteristics of neck muscle in mice were studied. Three 8-week-old male C57BL/10J wild-type mice were exposed to microgravity on the International Space Station in mouse drawer system (MDS) project, although only one mouse returned to the Earth alive. Housing of mice in a small MDS cage (11.6 × 9.8-cm and 8.4-cm height) and/or in a regular vivarium cage was also performed as the ground controls. Furthermore, ground-based hindlimb suspension and 2G exposure by using animal centrifuge (n = 5 each group) were performed. SF-related shift of fiber phenotype from type I to II and atrophy of type I fibers were noted. Shift of fiber phenotype was related to downregulation of mitochondrial proteins and upregulation of glycolytic proteins, suggesting a shift from oxidative to glycolytic metabolism. The responses of proteins related to calcium handling, myofibrillar structure, and heat stress were also closely related to the shift of muscular properties toward fast-twitch type. Surprisingly, responses of proteins to 2G exposure and hindlimb suspension were similar to SF, although the shift of fiber types and atrophy were not statistically significant. These phenomena may be related to the behavior of mice that the relaxed posture without lifting their head up was maintained after about 2 weeks. It was suggested that inhibition of normal muscular activities associated with gravitational unloading causes significant changes in the protein expression related to metabolic and/or morphological properties in mouse neck muscle.
The main purpose of the present study was to investigate the role(s) of 25-kDa heat shock protein (HSP25) in the regulation and integration of myofibrillar Z-disc structure during down- or upregulation of the size in rat soleus muscle fibers. Hindlimb unloading by tail suspension was performed in adult rats for 7 days, and reloading was allowed for 5 days after the termination of suspension. Interaction of HSP25 and Z-disc proteins, phosphorylation status, distribution, and complex formation of HSP25 were investigated. Non- and single-phosphorylated HSP25s were generally expressed in the cytoplasmic fraction of normal muscle. The level of total HSP25, as well as the phosphorylation ratio, did not change significantly in response to atrophy. Increased expressions of HSP25, phosphorylated at serine 15 (p-Ser15) and dual-phosphorylated form, were noted, when atrophied muscles were reloaded. Myofibrillar HSP25 was also noted in reloaded muscle. Histochemical analysis further indicated the localization of p-Ser15 in the regions with disorganization of Z-disc structure in reloaded muscle fibers. HSP25 formed a large molecular complex in the cytoplasmic fraction of normal muscle, whereas dissociation of free HSP25 with Ser15 phosphorylation was noted in reloaded muscle. The interaction of p-Ser15 with desmin and actinin was detected in Z-discs by proximity ligation assay. Strong interaction between p-Ser15 and desmin, but not actinin, was noted in the disorganized areas. These results indicated that HSP25 contributed to the desmin cytoskeletal organization following the phosphorylation at Ser15 during reloading and regrowing of soleus muscle.
The effects of supplementation with creatine (Cr) and its analog, ?-guanidinopropionic acid (?-GPA), on the differentiation of myoblasts and the numbers of nucleoli were studied in C2C12 cells. The cells were cultured in differentiation medium for 4 d. Then Cr (1 mM) or ?-GPA (1 mM) was added to the cells, and the mixture was cultured for an additional 2 d. Although the number of myotubes was not different among the groups, myotube diameters and nuclear numbers in myotubes were increased by Cr and ?-GPA treatment respectively. The expression of differentiation marker proteins, myogenin, and the myosine heavy chain, was increased in the ?-GPA group. Supplementation with ?-GPA also increased the percentage of p21 (inhibitor for cell cycle progression)-positive myoblasts. Supplementation with Cr inhibited the decrease in nucleoli numbers, whereas ?-GPA increased nucleolar sizes in the myotubes. These results suggest that ?-GPA supplementation stimulated the differentiation of myoblasts into multi-nucleated myotubes through induction of p21 expression.
Effects of hindlimb suspension (HS) and ambulation recovery on hippocampal neurogenesis of newly weaned rats were studied by using immunohistochemical techniques. The number of proliferating cell nuclear antigen-positive (PCNA(+)) cells in the subgranular zone (SGZ) markedly decreased during normal growth. However, neither HS nor subsequent recovery caused additional changes in the number of PCNA(+) cells. The number of doublecortin-positive (DCX(+)) neurons decreased gradually during normal growth. HS resulted in a further decrease in these neurons. However, DCX(+) cell numbers became identical to the levels in age-matched controls after 14 days of recovery. PCNA and DCX-double positive cells in the SGZ were also observed, and their cell numbers were not affected by HS and 14-day ambulation. Thus, HS suppressed the generation of DCX(+) neurons without affecting PCNA(+) cells in the SGZ of weaned rats. Taken together, hippocampal neurogenesis in weaned rats was not severely affected by HS while it decreased significantly as they had grown.
A powdered diet containing 100 or 3 ppm Fe was fed to rats starting at the age of 3 weeks. The voluntary activity level was checked using a wheel in the cage during the 17th week after the beginning of supplementation. Significantly less activity was seen in the 3 ppm Fe group during both light and dark periods. After 20 weeks, the blood and diencephalon were sampled from both groups. Lower hematocrit and blood hemoglobin content was observed in the 3 ppm Fe group. The level of 70 kDa heat shock cognate (HSC70) expression was greater in the diencephalon of the 3 ppm Fe group. In addition, the distribution of HSC70 was determined by proximity ligation assay. More HSC70-positive as well as total cells were noted in several areas of the diencephalon of the iron-deficient rats. The altered expression and distribution of HSC70 might play some role in the neurological changes.
Response of adductor longus (AL) muscle to gravitational unloading and reloading was studied. Male Wistar Hannover rats (5-wk old) were hindlimb-unloaded for 16 days with or without 16-day ambulation recovery. The electromyogram (EMG) activity in AL decreased after acute unloading, but that in the rostral region was even elevated during continuous unloading. The EMG levels in the caudal region gradually increased up to 6th day, but decreased again. Approximately 97% of fibers in the caudal region were pure type I at the beginning of experiment. Mean percentage of type I fibers in the rostral region was 61% and that of type I+II and II fiber was 14 and 25%, respectively. The percent type I fibers decreased and de novo appearance of type I+II was noted after unloading. But the fiber phenotype in caudal, not rostral and middle, region was normalized after 16-day ambulation. Pronounced atrophy after unloading and re-growth following ambulation was noted in type I fibers of the caudal region. Sarcomere length in the caudal region was passively shortened during unloading, but that in the rostral region was unchanged or even stretched slightly. Growth-associated increase of myonuclear number seen in the caudal region of control rats was inhibited by unloading. Number of mitotic active satellite cells decreased after unloading only in the caudal region. It was indicated that the responses of fiber properties in AL to unloading and reloading were closely related to the region-specific neural and mechanical activities, being the caudal region more responsive.
It has been proposed that mechanically induced tension is the critical factor in the induction of muscle hypertrophy. However, the molecular mechanisms involved in this process are still under investigation. In the present study, the effect of mechanical stretch on intracellular signaling for protein translation initiation and elongation was studied in C2C12 myoblasts. Cells were grown on a silicone elastomer chamber and subjected to 30-min of 5 or 15% constant static or cyclic (60 cycles/min) uniaxial stretch. Western blot analyses revealed that p70 S6 kinase (p70S6K) and eukaryotic elongation factor 2 (eEF2), which are the markers for translation initiation and peptide chain elongation, respectively, were activated by both static and cyclic stretch. The magnitude of activation was greater in response to the 15% cyclic stretch. Cyclic stretch also increased the phosphorylation of MAP kinases (p38 MAPK, ERK1/2 and JNK). However, the pharmacological inhibition of MAP kinases did not block the stretch-induced activation of p70S6K and eEF2. An inhibitor of the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) blocked the stretch-induced phosphorylation of p70S6K but did not affect the eEF2 activation. A broad-range tyrosine kinase inhibitor, genistein, blocked the stretch-induced activation of p70S6K and eEF2, whereas Src tyrosine kinase and Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitors did not. These results suggest that the stretch-induced activation of protein translation initiation and elongation in mouse myoblast cell lines is mediated by tyrosine kinase(s), except for Src kinase or JAK.
Effects of gravitational loading or unloading on the gain of the characteristics in soleus muscle fibers were studied in rats. The tail suspension was performed in newborn rats from postnatal day 4 to month 3, and the reloading was allowed for 3 mo in some rats. Single expression of type I myosin heavy chain (MHC) was observed in approximately 82% of fibers in 3-mo-old controls, but the fibers expressing multiple MHC isoforms were noted in the unloaded rats. Although 97% of fibers in 3-mo-old controls had a single neuromuscular junction at the central region of fiber, fibers with multiple nerve endplates were seen in the unloaded group. Faster contraction speed and lower maximal tension development, even after normalization with fiber size, were observed in the unloaded pure type I MHC fibers. These parameters generally returned to the age-matched control levels after reloading. It was suggested that antigravity-related tonic activity plays an important role in the gain of single neural innervation and of slow contractile properties and phenotype in soleus muscle fibers.
Serine palmitoyltransferase (SPT) is the enzyme which catalyzes the first step of the biosynthesis of sphingolipids. However, the precise roles of SPT in vivo are not well understood, since complete knockout (KO) of genes which compose SPT results in a fetal lethal phenotype. A conditional KO (cKO) mouse of SPT long chain base 2 (Sptlc2) was therefore developed, and the effects of Sptlc2 deficiency were examined. Single cell necrosis in the epithelia of the crypts of the small and large intestines was observed as early as 24 h after induction of knockout. At 48 h after induction, decreases in spleen and thymus weights and decreases in numbers of reticulocytes and lymphocytes were observed in cKO mice, and single cell necrosis in the intestine became prominent. At 72 h after induction, decreases in body weight, spleen and thymus weights, and numbers of reticulocytes and lymphocytes became obvious in cKO mice. Histologically, atrophy of gastrointestinal mucosa and lymphoid necrosis as well as depletion of lymphoid and hematopoietic tissues were observed. These findings suggest that SPT plays important roles in the maintenance of the gastrointestinal mucosa, especially in the proliferation of the mucosal epithelial cells, and that deficiency of Sptlc2 induces necrotic lesions in gastrointestinal cells followed by atrophic change of the tissue in short term.
Distribution and total number of myonuclei in single soleus muscle fibers, sampled from tendon to tendon, were analyzed in mdx and wild-type (WT) mice. Apoptotic myonuclei and the microscopic structure around the myonuclei were also analyzed. Three types of muscle fibers of mdx mice with myonuclear distribution at either central, peripheral, or both central and peripheral regions were observed in the longitudinal analyses. All of the myonuclei were located at the peripheral region in WT mice. The total number of myonuclei counted in the whole length of fibers with peripheral myonuclei only was 17% less in mdx than in WT mice (p < 0.05). But the total myonuclear numbers in mdx mouse fibers with different distribution (peripheral vs. central) of myonuclei were identical, and the peripheral nucleus was noted where the central nucleus was missing. Myonuclei located between the center and peripheral regions were also seen in the cross-sectional analyses of muscle fibers. The cross-sectional area and length of fibers, sarcomere number, myonuclear size, myosin heavy chain expression, satellite cell number and neuromuscular junction were identical between each type of fiber. Apoptosis was not detected in any myonuclei located either in central or peripheral regions of muscle fibers. Thus, it was suggested that apoptosis-related loss of central myonuclei and regeneration-related new accretion at the peripheral region is not the cause of different distribution of myonuclei seen in muscle fibers in mdx mice. However, it was speculated that cross-sectional migration of myonuclei from central to peripheral regions may be induced in response to regeneration, because the total myonuclear numbers in fibers with different distribution of myonuclei were identical, and the peripheral nucleus was noted where the central nucleus was missing. Further, myonuclei located between the center and peripheral regions were also seen. However, the question remains as to how or why nuclei might migrate to the periphery in a regenerating muscle fiber, since there was no microscopic evidence of any structural changes around the myonuclei that may be responsible for the movement of the nucleus.
Effects of 3-month exposure to microgravity environment on the expression of genes and proteins in mouse brain were studied. Moreover, responses of neurobiological parameters, nerve growth factor (NGF) and brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), were also evaluated in the cerebellum, hippocampus, cortex, and adrenal glands. Spaceflight-related changes in gene and protein expression were observed. Biological processes of the up-regulated genes were related to the immune response, metabolic process, and/or inflammatory response. Changes of cellular components involving in microsome and vesicular fraction were also noted. Molecular function categories were related to various enzyme activities. The biological processes in the down-regulated genes were related to various metabolic and catabolic processes. Cellular components were related to cytoplasm and mitochondrion. The down-regulated molecular functions were related to catalytic and oxidoreductase activities. Up-regulation of 28 proteins was seen following spaceflight vs. those in ground control. These proteins were related to mitochondrial metabolism, synthesis and hydrolysis of ATP, calcium/calmodulin metabolism, nervous system, and transport of proteins and/or amino acids. Down-regulated proteins were related to mitochondrial metabolism. Expression of NGF in hippocampus, cortex, and adrenal gland of wild type animal tended to decrease following spaceflight. As for pleiotrophin transgenic mice, spaceflight-related reduction of NGF occurred only in adrenal gland. Consistent trends between various portions of brain and adrenal gland were not observed in the responses of BDNF to spaceflight. Although exposure to real microgravity influenced the expression of a number of genes and proteins in the brain that have been shown to be involved in a wide spectrum of biological function, it is still unclear how the functional properties of brain were influenced by 3-month exposure to microgravity.
Hormonal changes in humans during spaceflight have been demonstrated but the underlying mechanisms are still unknown. To clarify this point thyroid and testis/epididymis, both regulated by anterior pituitary gland, have been analyzed on long-term space-exposed male C57BL/10 mice, either wild type or pleiotrophin transgenic, overexpressing osteoblast stimulating factor-1. Glands were submitted to morphological and functional analysis.In thyroids, volumetric ratios between thyrocytes and colloid were measured. cAMP production in 10(-7)M and 10(-8)M thyrotropin-treated samples was studied. Thyrotropin receptor and caveolin-1 were quantitized by immunoblotting and localized by immunofluorescence. In space-exposed animals, both basal and thyrotropin-stimulated cAMP production were always higher. Also, the structure of thyroid follicles appeared more organized, while thyrotropin receptor and caveolin-1 were overexpressed. Unlike the control samples, in the space samples thyrotropin receptor and caveolin-1 were both observed at the intracellular junctions, suggesting their interaction in specific cell membrane microdomains.In testes, immunofluorescent reaction for 3?- steroid dehydrogenase was performed and the relative expressions of hormone receptors and interleukin-1? were quantified by RT-PCR. Epididymal sperm number was counted. In space-exposed animals, the presence of 3? and 17? steroid dehydrogenase was reduced. Also, the expression of androgen and follicle stimulating hormone receptors increased while lutenizing hormone receptor levels were not affected. The interleukin 1 ? expression was upregulated. The tubular architecture was altered and the sperm cell number was significantly reduced in spaceflight mouse epididymis (approx. -90% vs. laboratory and ground controls), indicating that the space environment may lead to degenerative changes in seminiferous tubules.Space-induced changes of structure and function of thyroid and testis/epididymis could be responsible for variations of hormone levels in human during space missions. More research, hopefully a reflight of MDS, would be needed to establish whether the space environment acts directly on the peripheral glands or induces changes in the hypotalamus-pituitary-glandular axis.
Effects of mechanical over-loading on the characteristics of regenerating or normal soleus muscle fibers were studied in dystrophin-deficient (mdx) and wild type (WT) mice. Damage was also induced in WT mice by injection of cardiotoxin (CTX) into soleus muscle. Over-loading was applied for 14 days to the left soleus muscle in mdx and intact and CTX-injected WT mouse muscles by ablation of the distal tendons of plantaris and gastrocnemius muscles. All of the myonuclei in normal muscle of WT mice were distributed at the peripheral region. But, central myonuclei were noted in all fibers of WT mice regenerating from CTX-injection-related injury. Further, many fibers of mdx mice possessed central myonuclei and the distribution of such fibers was increased in response to over-loading, suggesting a shift of myonuclei from peripheral to central region. Approximately 1.4% branched fibers were seen in the intact muscle of mdx mice, although these fibers were not detected in WT mice. The percentage of these fibers in mdx, not in WT, mice was increased by over-loading (?51.2%). The fiber CSA in normal WT mice was increased by over-loading (p<0.05), but not in mdx and CTX-injected WT mice. It was suggested that compensatory hypertrophy is induced in normal muscle fibers of WT mice following functional over-loading. But, it was also indicated that muscle fibers in mdx mice are susceptible to mechanical over-loading and fiber splitting and shift of myonuclei from peripheral to central region are induced.
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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