Biochemical and biophysical research communications

Calcineurin and heat shock protein 72 in functionally overloaded rat plantaris muscle.

PMID 15809055


The involvement of calcineurin (CaN) and heat shock protein (Hsp) 72 in the regulation of fiber size and/or phenotype in response to functional overload (FO) was investigated. In one FO group, the plantaris muscle was overloaded by cutting the distal tendons (5-10 mm length) of the soleus and gastrocnemius of 3-week-old male Wistar rats. Cyclosporin A (CsA), a CaN inhibitor, was injected daily (5 mg/kg body weight, i.p.) in a second group of FO rats (FO+CsA group) for a 2-week period. Compared to age-matched controls (Con), the absolute and relative plantaris weights were increased in both FO groups: the hypertrophic response was attenuated in FO+CsA rats. The mean cross-sectional area of each fiber type was increased (approximately 2.0-fold) in the plantaris of FO rats: CsA treatment attenuated this effect, although the fibers were still larger than in Con rats. The percent composition of myosin heavy chain (MHC) IIb decreased from 54% in Con to 19% in FO rats, whereas types I, IIa, and IIx MHC increased in the FO rats. CsA treatment blunted the shifts in MHC isoforms: the FO+CsA group showed a smaller decrease in type IIb and a smaller increase in type IIx MHC than the FO group. The levels of CaN-A and -B proteins were higher (approximately 2.5-fold) in FO than Con rats, whereas these values were similar in Con and FO+CsA rats. Hsp72 protein levels were higher in FO (3.6-fold) and FO+CsA (5.2-fold) than Con rats, with the values being significantly higher in the FO+CsA than FO rats. CsA treatment in Con rats had no effects on muscle mass, fiber size, MHC composition, and Hsp72 or CaN levels. Combined, these results suggest that CaN levels are related to changes in both fiber size and phenotype, and that Hsp72 levels are more related to the levels of stress added to the muscle rather than to increases in the slow fiber phenotype in functionally overloaded rat plantaris muscles.

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