Author(s): Andersen JL, GruschyKnudsen T, Sandri C, Larsson L, Schiaffino S
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Abstract The effects of a 37-day period of bed rest on myosin heavy chain (MHC) expression on both mRNA and protein level in human skeletal muscle fibers were studied. Muscle biopsies from vastus lateralis muscle were obtained from seven healthy young male subjects before and after the bed-rest period. Combined in situ hybridization, immunocytochemistry, and ATPase histochemistry analysis of serial sections of the muscle biopsies demonstrated that fibers showing a mismatch between MHC isoforms at the mRNA and protein level increased significantly after the bed-rest period, suggesting an increase in the amount of muscle fibers in a transitional state. Accordingly, fibers showing a match in expression of MHC-1 and of MHC-2A at the mRNA and protein level decreased, whereas fibers showing a match between MHC-2X mRNA and protein increased after bed rest. Overall, there was an increase in fibers in a transitional state from phenotypic type 1 --> 2A and 2A --> 2X. Furthermore, a number of fibers with unusual MHC mRNA and isoprotein combinations were observed after bed rest (e.g., type 1 fibers with only mRNA for 2X and type 1 fibers negative for mRNA for MHC-beta/slow, 2A, and 2X). In contrast, no changes were revealed after an examination at the protein level alone. These data suggest that the reduced load-bearing activity imposed on the skeletal muscles through bed rest will alter MHC gene expression, resulting in combinations of mRNA and MHC isoforms normally not (or only rarely) observed in muscles subjected to load-bearing activity. On the other hand, the present data also show that 37 days of bed rest are not a sufficient stimulus to induce a similar change at the protein level, as was observed at the gene level.
This article was published in J Appl Physiol (1985)
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Experimental Pharmacology