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Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2006 Jun;290(6):C1660-5. Epub 2006 Jan 18.

Alpha7beta1-integrin regulates mechanotransduction and prevents skeletal muscle injury.

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  • 1Dept. of Cell and Developmental Biology, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL 61801, USA.


Alpha7beta1-integrin links laminin in the extracellular matrix with the cell cytoskeleton and therein mediates transduction of mechanical forces into chemical signals. Muscle contraction and stretching ex vivo result in activation of intracellular signaling molecules that are integral to postexercise injury responses. Because alpha7beta1-integrin stabilizes muscle and provides communication between the matrix and cytoskeleton, the role of this integrin in exercise-induced cell signaling and skeletal muscle damage was assessed in wild-type and transgenic mice overexpressing the alpha7BX2 chain. We report here that increasing alpha7beta1-integrin inhibits phosphorylation of molecules associated with muscle damage, including the mitogen-activated protein kinases (JNK, p38, and ERK), following downhill running. Likewise, activation of molecules associated with hypertrophy (AKT, mTOR, and p70(S6k)) was diminished in mice overexpressing integrin. While exercise resulted in Evans blue dye-positive fibers, an index of muscle damage, increased integrin protected mice from injury. Moreover, exercise leads to an increase in alpha7beta1 protein. These experiments provide the first evidence that alpha7beta1-integrin is a negative regulator of mechanotransduction in vivo and provides resistance to exercise-induced muscle damage.

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