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FASEB J. 2005 Oct;19(12):1722-4. Epub 2005 Jul 26.

Changes in dysferlin, proteins from dystrophin glycoprotein complex, costameres, and cytoskeleton in human soleus and vastus lateralis muscles after a long-term bedrest with or without exercise.

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Laboratoire de Physiologie des Systèmes Intégrés, CNRS UMR 6548, Nice, France.


This study was designed to evaluate the effects of hypokinesia and hypodynamia on cytoskeletal and related protein contents in human skeletal muscles. Twelve proteins: dystrophin and its associated proteins (DGC), dysferlin, talin, vinculin and meta-vinculin, alpha-actinin, desmin, actin, and myosin, were quantitatively analyzed during an 84-day long-term bedrest (LTBR). The preventive or compensatory effects of maximal resistance exercise (MRE) as a countermeasure were evaluated. Most of these proteins are involved in several myopathies, and they play an important role in muscle structure, fiber cohesion, cell integrity maintenance, and force transmission. This is the first comparison of the cytoskeletal protein contents between slow postural soleus (SOL) and mixed poly-functional vastus lateralis (VL) human muscles. Protein contents were higher in VL than in SOL (from 12 to 94%). These differences could be mainly explained by the differential mechanical constraints imposed on the muscles, i.e., cytoskeletal protein contents increase with mechanical constraints. After LTBR, proteins belonging to the DGC, dysferlin, and proteins of the costamere exhibited large increases, higher in SOL (from 67 to 216%) than in VL (from 32 to 142%). Plasma membrane remodeling during muscle atrophy is probably one of the key points for interpreting these modifications, and mechanisms other than those involved in the resistance of the cytoskeleton to mechanical constraints may be implicated (membrane repair). MRE compensates the cytoskeletal changes induced by LTBR in SOL, except for gamma-sarcoglycan (+70%) and dysferlin (+108%). The exercise only partly compensated the DGC changes induced in VL, and, as for SOL, dysferlin remained largely increased (+132%). Moreover, vinculin and metavinculin, which exhibited no significant change in VL after LTBR, were increased with MRE during LTBR, reinforcing the pre-LTBR differences between SOL and VL. This knowledge will contribute to the development of efficient space flight countermeasures and rehabilitation methods in clinical situations where musculoskeletal unloading is a component.

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