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J Appl Physiol (1985). 2010 Jun;108(6):1775-85. doi: 10.1152/japplphysiol.01293.2009. Epub 2010 Apr 1.

Skeletal muscle dysfunction in muscle-specific LKB1 knockout mice.

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  • 1Department of Physiology and Developmental Biology, 589 WIDB, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT 84602, USA.


Liver kinase B1 (LKB1) is a tumor-suppressing protein that is involved in the regulation of muscle metabolism and growth by phosphorylating and activating AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) family members. Here we report the development of a myopathic phenotype in skeletal and cardiac muscle-specific LKB1 knockout (mLKB1-KO) mice. The myopathic phenotype becomes overtly apparent at 30-50 wk of age and is characterized by decreased body weight and a proportional reduction in fast-twitch skeletal muscle weight. The ability to ambulate is compromised with an often complete loss of hindlimb function. Skeletal muscle atrophy is associated with a 50-75% reduction in mammalian target of rapamycin pathway phosphorylation, as well as lower peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-alpha coactivator-1 content and cAMP response element binding protein phosphorylation (43 and 40% lower in mLKB1-KO mice, respectively). Maximum in situ specific force production is not affected, but fatigue is exaggerated, and relaxation kinetics are slowed in the myopathic mice. The increased fatigue is associated with a 30-78% decrease in mitochondrial protein content, a shift away from type IIA/D toward type IIB muscle fibers, and a tendency (P=0.07) for decreased capillarity in mLKB1-KO muscles. Hearts from myopathic mLKB1-KO mice exhibit grossly dilated atria, suggesting cardiac insufficiency and heart failure, which likely contributes to the phenotype. These findings indicate that LKB1 plays a critical role in the maintenance of both skeletal and cardiac function.

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