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Sci Rep. 2014 Jan 10;4:3625. doi: 10.1038/srep03625.

Nrf2 protects against TWEAK-mediated skeletal muscle wasting.

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Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, University Hospital, RWTH Aachen University, Aachen, Germany.
Department of Laboratory Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, California, USA.
Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Medical Faculty, RWTH Aachen University, Aachen 52072, Germany.


Skeletal muscle (SM) regeneration after injury is impaired by excessive inflammation. Particularly, the inflammatory cytokine tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-like weak inducer of apoptosis (TWEAK) is a potent inducer of skeletal muscle wasting and fibrosis. In this study we investigated the role of Nrf2, a major regulator of oxidative stress defence, in SM ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury and TWEAK induced atrophy. We explored the time-dependent expression of TWEAK after I/R in SM of Nrf2-wildtype (WT) and knockout (KO) mice. Nrf2-KO mice expressed significant higher levels of TWEAK as compared to WT mice. Consequently, Nrf2-KO mice present an insufficient regeneration as compared to Nrf2-WT mice. Moreover, TWEAK stimulation activates Nrf2 in the mouse myoblast cell line C2C12. This Nrf2 activation inhibits TWEAK induced atrophy in C2C12 differentiated myotubes. In summary, we show that Nrf2 protects SM from TWEAK-induced cell death in vitro and that Nrf2-deficient mice therefore have poorer muscle regeneration.

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