Journal Article

Akt activation prevents the force drop induced by eccentric contractions in dystrophin-deficient skeletal muscle

Bert Blaauw, Cristina Mammucari, Luana Toniolo, Lisa Agatea, Reimar Abraham, Marco Sandri, Carlo Reggiani and Stefano Schiaffino

in Human Molecular Genetics

Volume 17, issue 23, pages 3686-3696
Published in print December 2008 | ISSN: 0964-6906
Published online August 2008 | e-ISSN: 1460-2083 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/hmg/ddn264
Akt activation prevents the force drop induced by eccentric contractions in dystrophin-deficient skeletal muscle

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Skeletal muscles of the mdx mouse, a model of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, show an excessive reduction in the maximal tetanic force following eccentric contractions. This specific sign of the susceptibility of dystrophin-deficient muscles to mechanical stress can be used as a quantitative test to measure the efficacy of therapeutic interventions. Using inducible transgenesis in mice, we show that when Akt activity is increased the force drop induced by eccentric contractions in mdx mice becomes similar to that of wild-type mice. This effect is not correlated with muscle hypertrophy and is not blocked by rapamycin treatment. The force drop induced by eccentric contractions is similar in skinned muscle fibers from mdx and Akt-mdx mice when stretch is applied directly to skinned fibers. However, skinned fibers isolated from mdx muscles exposed to eccentric contractions in vivo develop less isometric force than wild-type fibers and this force depression is completely prevented by Akt activation. These experiments indicate that the myofibrillar-cytoskeletal system of dystrophin-deficient muscle is highly susceptible to a damage caused by eccentric contraction when elongation is applied in vivo, and this damage can be prevented by Akt activation. Microarray and PCR analyses indicate that Akt activation induces up-regulation of genes coding for proteins associated with Z-disks and costameres, and for proteins with anti-oxidant or chaperone function. The protein levels of utrophin and dysferlin are also increased by Akt activation.

Journal Article.  7642 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Genetics and Genomics

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