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Changes in PKB/Akt and calcineurin signaling during recovery in atrophied soleus muscle induced by unloading

Hirosaki Gakuin University, Aomori, Aomori, Japan
AJP Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology (Impact Factor: 3.53). 06/2005; 288(5):R1273-8. DOI: 10.1152/ajpregu.00688.2004
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ABSTRACT Protein kinase B [PKB, also known as Akt (PKB/Akt)] and calcineurin (CaN) are postulated to play important roles in integrating intracellular signaling in skeletal muscle in response to disuse and increased muscle loading. These experiments investigated changes in signal transduction of the downstream pathways of PKB/Akt and CaN during recovery following disuse-induced muscle atrophy. A 10-day period of hindlimb unloading (HLU) via tail suspension (male rats) was used to produce soleus muscle atrophy. Muscle recovery was achieved by returning animals to normal ambulation for 3-10 days. HLU resulted in significant muscle atrophy and a slow-to-fast fiber transition as revealed by appearance of type IId/x and IIb myosin heavy chain (MHC) isoforms. Muscle mass in HLU animals recovered to control (Con) levels after 10 days of reloading, but the fast-to-slow shift in muscle MHC was incomplete, as indicated by the continued presence of type IId/x MHC. Ten days of HLU resulted in a significant decrease (-43%) in muscle levels of phosphorylated PKB/Akt. In contrast, muscle levels of phosphorylated PKB/Akt were greater (+56%) in HLU than in Con animals early after the onset of reloading (3 days). Soleus levels of phosphorylated p70S6K were significantly higher (+26%) in HLU animals after 3 days of muscle reloading. Muscle levels of phosphorylated PKB/Akt and phosphorylated p70S6K returned to Con levels by day 10 of recovery. Moreover, muscle CaN levels were significantly higher than Con levels after 10 days of muscle reloading. These findings are consistent with the hypothesis that PKB/Akt and its downstream mediators are active in the regrowth of muscle mass during the early periods of recovery from muscle atrophy. Our data support the concept that CaN is involved in muscle remodeling during the later phases of recovery from disuse muscle atrophy.

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