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Transcriptional reprogramming during reloading of atrophied rat soleus muscle.

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Department of Anatomy, University of Bern, Baltzerstr. 2, 3000 Bern 9, Switzerland.


The hypothesis was tested that differential, coregulated transcriptional adaptations of various cellular pathways would occur early with increased mechanical loading of atrophied skeletal muscle and relate to concurrent damage of muscle fibers. Atrophy and slow-to-fast fiber transformation of rat soleus muscle was provoked by 14 days of hindlimb suspension (HS). Subsequent reloading of hindlimbs caused a fourfold increase in the percentage of muscle fibers, demonstrating endomysial tenascin-C staining. Five days after reloading, when 10% of the fibers were damaged, the normal muscle weight and slow-type fiber percentage were reestablished. Microarray analysis revealed major, biphasic patterns of gene expressional alterations with reloading that distinguish between treatments and gene ontologies. Transcript levels of factors involved in protein synthesis and certain proteasomal mRNAs were increased after 1 day of reloading and correlated to the percentage of fibers surrounded by tenascin-C. By contrast, levels of gene messages for fatty acid transporters, respiratory chain constituents, and voltage-gated cation channels were transiently reduced after 1 day of muscle loading and associated with the number of damaged fibers and the regain in muscle weight. This coregulation points toward important retooling of oxidative metabolism and the T- and SR-tubular systems with rebuilding of slow fibers. The observations demonstrate that early nuclear reprogramming with reloading of atrophic soleus muscle is coordinated and links to the processes involved in mechanical damage and regeneration of muscle fibers.

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