Regulation of the akt signalling in human skeletal muscle atrophy


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PhD thesis: a PhD thesis.
Regulation of the akt signalling in human skeletal muscle atrophy
Léger B.
Tappy L.
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Université de Lausanne, Faculté de biologie et médecine
Faculté de biologie et de médecine Université de Lausanne UNIL - Bugnon Rue du Bugnon 21 - bureau 4111 CH-1015 Lausanne SUISSE
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REROID:R004737035 ill.
Abstract :
The term "muscle disuse" is often used to refer collectively to reductions in neuromuscular activity as observed with sedentary lifestyles, reduced weight bearing, cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, chronic heart failure, spinal cord injury, sarcopenia or exposure to microgravity (spaceflight). Muscle disuse atrophy, caused by accelerated proteolysis, is predominantly due to the activation of the ATP-dependent ubiquitin (Ub) proteasome pathway. The current advances in understanding the molecular factors contributing to the Ub-dependent proteolysis process have been made mostly in rodent models of human disease and denervation with few investigations performed directly in humans. Recently, in mice, the genes Atrogin-1 and MuRF1 have been designated as primary candidates in the control of muscle atrophy. Additionally, the decreased activity of the Akt/GSK-3ß and Akt/mTOR pathways has been associated with a reduction in protein synthesis and contributing to skeletal muscle atrophy. Therefore, it is now commonly accepted that skeletal muscle atrophy is the result of a decreased protein synthesis concomitant with an increase in protein degradation (Glass 2003).
Atrogin-1 and MuRF1 are genes expressed exclusively in muscle. In mice, their expression has been shown to be directly correlated with the severity of atrophy. KO-mice experiments showed a major protection against atrophy when either of these genes were deleted.
Skeletal muscle hypertrophy is an important function in normal postnatal development and in the adaptive response to exercise. It has been shown, in vitro, that the activation of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI-3K), by insulin growth factor 1 (IGF-1), stimulates myotubes hypertrophy by activating the downstream pathways, Akt/GSK-3ß and Akt/mTOR. It has also been demonstrated in mice, in vivo, that activation of these signalling pathways causes muscle hypertrophy. Moreover, the latter were recently proposed to also reduce muscle atrophy by inhibiting the FKHR mediated transcription of several muscle atrophy genes; Atrogin-1 and MuRF1.
Therefore, these targets present new avenues for developing further the understanding of the molecular mechanisms involved in both skeletal muscle atrophy and hypertrophy.
The present study proposed to investigate the regulation of the Akt/GSK-3ß and Akt/mTOR signalling pathways, as well as the expression levels of the "atrogenes", Atrogin-1 and MuRF1, in four human models of skeletal muscle atrophy.
In the first study, we measured the regulation of the Akt signalling pathway after 8 weeks of both hypertrophy stimulating resistance training and atrophy stimulation de-training. As expected following resistance training, muscle hypertrophy and an increase in the phosphorylation status of the different members of the Akt pathway was observed. This was paralleled by a concomitant decrease in FOXO1 nuclear protein content. Surprisingly, exercise training also induced an increase in the, expression of the atrophy genes and proteins involved in the ATP-dependant ubiquitin-proteasome system. On the opposite, following the de-training period a muscle atrophy, relative to the post-training muscle size, was measured. At the same time, the phosphorylation levels of Akt and GSK-3ß were reduced while the amount of FOXO1 in the nucleus increased. After the atrophy phase, there was also a reduction in Atrogin-1 and MuRF1 contents. In this study, we demonstrate for the first time in healthy human skeletal muscle, that the regulation of Akt and its downstream targets GSK-3ß, mTOR and FOXO1 are associated with both thé skeletal muscle hypertrophy and atrophy processes.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease characterized by the loss of both upper and lower motor neurons, which leads to severe muscle weakness and atrophy. All measurements were performed in biopsies from 22 ALS patients and 16 healthy controls. ALS patients displayed an increase in Atrogin-1 mRNA and protein content which was associated with a decrease in Akt activity. However there was no difference in the mRNA and phospho-protein content of FOXO1, FOXO3a, p70S6K and GSK-3ß. The transcriptional regulation of human Atrogin-1 may be controlled by an Akt-mediated transcription factor other than FKHR or via an other signalling pathway.
Chronic complete spinal cord injury (SCI) is associated with severe muscle atrophy which is linked to co-morbidity factors such as diabetes, obesity, lipid disorders and cardiovascular diseases. Molecular mechanisms associated with chronic complete SCI-related muscle atrophy are not well understood. The aim of the present study was to determine if there was an increase in catabolic signalling targets such as Atrogin-1, MuRF1, FOXO and myostatin, and decreases in anabolic signalling targets such as IGF, Akt, GSK-3ß, mTOR, 4E-BP1 and p-70S6K in chronic complete SCI patients. All measurements were performed in biopsies taken from 8 complete chronic SCI patients and 7 age matched healthy controls. In SCI patients when compared with controls, there was a significant reduction in mRNA levels of Atrogin1, MuRF1 and Myostatin. Protein levels for Atrogin-1, FOX01 and FOX03a were also reduced. IGF-1 and both phosphorylated GSK-3ß and 4E-BP1 were decreased; the latter two in an Akt and mTOR independent manner, respectively. Reductions in Atrogin-1, MuRF1, FOXO and myostatin suggest the existence of an internal mechanism aimed at reducing further loss of muscle proteins during chronic SCI. The downregulation of signalling proteins regulating anabolism such as IGF, GSK3ß and 4E-BP1 would reduce the ability to increase protein synthesis rates in this chronic state of muscle wasting.
The molecular mechanisms controlling age-related skeletal muscle loss in humans are poorly understood. The present study aimed to investigate the regulation of several genes and proteins involved in the activation of key signalling pathways promoting muscle hypertrophy such as GH/STAT5/IGF, IGF/Akt/GSK-3ß/4E-BP1 and muscle atrophy such as TNFα/SOCS3 and Akt/FOXO/Atrogin-1 or MuRF1 in muscle biopsies from 13 young and 16 elderly men. In the older, as compared with the young subjects, TNFα and SOCS-3 were increased while growth hormone receptor protein (GHR) and IGF-1 mRNA were both decreased. Akt protein levels were increased however no change in phosphorylated Akt content was observed. GSK-3ß phosphorylation levels were increased while 4E-BP1 was not changed. Nuclear FKHR and FKHRL1 protein levels were decreased, with no changes in their atrophy target genes, Atrogin-1 and MuRF1. Myostatin mRNA and protein levels were significantly elevated. Human sarcopenia may be linked to a reduction in the activity or sensitivity of anabolic signalling proteins such as GHR, IGF and Akt. TNFα, SOCS-3 and myostatin are potential candidates influencing this anabolic perturbation.
In conclusion our results support those obtained in rodent or ín vitro models, and demonstrate Akt plays a pivotal role in the control of muscle mass in humans. However, the Akt phosphorylation status was dependant upon the model of muscle atrophy as Akt phosphorylation was reduced in all atrophy models except for SCI. Additionally, the activity pattern of the downstream targets of Akt appears to be different upon the various human models. It seems that under particular conditions such as spinal cord injury or sarcopenia, .the regulation of GSK-3ß, 4eBP1 and p70S6K might be independent of Akt suggesting alternative signalling pathways in the control of these the anabolic response in human skeletal muscle. The regulation of Atrogin-1 and MuRF1 in some of our studies has been shown to be also independent of the well-described Akt/FOXO signalling pathway suggesting that other transcription factors may regulate human Atrogin-1 and MuRF1. These four different models of skeletal muscle atrophy and hypertrophy have brought a better understanding concerning the molecular mechanisms controlling skeletal muscle mass in humans.
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24/06/2010 8:52
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20/08/2019 13:41
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