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Can J Physiol Pharmacol. 2011 Feb;89(2):117-25. doi: 10.1139/y10-114.

Time course in calpain activity and autolysis in slow and fast skeletal muscle during clenbuterol treatment.

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Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, UMR866 Différenciation Cellulaire et Croissance, Université Montpellier 1, Montpellier, France.


Calpains are Ca2+ cysteine proteases that have been proposed to be involved in the cytoskeletal remodeling and wasting of skeletal muscle. Cumulative evidence also suggests that β2-agonists can lead to skeletal muscle hypertrophy through a mechanism probably related to calcium-dependent proteolytic enzyme. The aim of our study was to monitor calpain activity as a function of clenbuterol treatment in both slow and fast phenotype rat muscles. For this purpose, for 21 days we followed the time course of the calpain activity and of the ubiquitous calpain 1 and 2 autolysis, as well as muscle remodeling in the extensor digitorum longus (EDL) and soleus muscles of male Wistar rats treated daily with clenbuterol (4 mg·kg-1). A slow to fast fiber shift was observed in both the EDL and soleus muscles after 9 days of treatment, while hypertrophy was observed only in EDL after 9 days of treatment. Soleus muscle but not EDL muscle underwent an early apoptonecrosis phase characterized by hematoxylin and eosin staining. Total calpain activity was increased in both the EDL and soleus muscles of rats treated with clenbuterol. Moreover, calpain 1 autolysis increased significantly after 14 days in the EDL, but not in the soleus. Calpain 2 autolysis increased significantly in both muscles 6 hours after the first clenbuterol injection, indicating that clenbuterol-induced calpain 2 autolysis occurred earlier than calpain 1 autolysis. Together, these data suggest a preferential involvement of calpain 2 autolysis compared with calpain 1 autolysis in the mechanisms underlying the clenbuterol-induced skeletal muscle remodeling.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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