PloS one

Mechanical-stretch of C2C12 myoblasts inhibits expression of Toll-like receptor 3 (TLR3) and of autoantigens associated with inflammatory myopathies.

PMID 24224022


Recent studies in patients suffering from inflammatory autoimmune myopathies suggested that moderate exercise training improves or at least stabilizes muscle strength and function without inducing disease flares. However, the precise mechanisms involved in this beneficial effect have not been extensively studied. Here we used a model of in vitro stretched C2C12 myoblasts to investigate whether mechanical stretch could influence myoblast proliferation or the expression of proinflammatory genes. Our results demonstrated that cyclic mechanical stretch stimulated C2C12 cell cycling and early up-regulation of the molecules related to mechanical-stretch pathway in muscle (calmodulin, nNOS, MMP-2, HGF and c-Met). Unexpectedly, mechanical stretch also reduced the expression of TLR3 and of proteins known to represent autoantigens in inflammatory autoimmune myopathies (Mi-2, HRS, DNA-PKcs, U1-70). Interestingly, stimulation or inhibition of calmodulin, NOS, HGF or c-Met molecules in vitro affected the expression of autoantigens and TLR3 proteins confirming their role in the inhibition of autoantigens and TLR3 during mechanical stretch. Overall, this study demonstrates for the first time that mechanical stretch could be beneficial by reducing expression of muscle autoantigens and of pro-inflammatory TLR3 and may provide new insight to understand how resistance training can reduce the symptoms associated with myositis.

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Calmidazolium chloride, solid