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Am J Physiol. 1995 Feb;268(2 Pt 1):E288-97.

Muscle growth in response to mechanical stimuli.

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Department of Clinical Medicine, University of Leeds, United Kingdom.


The relative merits of the separate and combined uses of stretch and electrical stimulation at 10 Hz in influencing the rates of protein synthesis in vivo, proteolysis, and the growth of the extensor digitorum longus muscle have been investigated after 3 days in the rabbit. Continuous electrical stimulation failed to change muscle protein turnover or growth. Static stretch caused significant adaptive growth, with increases in c-fos, c-jun, and insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I; 12-fold) mRNA levels, and protein (19%), RNA (128%), and DNA (45%) contents. Both the fractional (138%) and total (191%) rates of protein synthesis increased with stretch, correlating with increased ribosomal capacities. Combining stretch and electrical stimulation increased the mRNA concentration of IGF-I (40-fold). The adaptive growth was greater (35%), with massive increases in the nucleic acids (185 and 300%), ribosomal capacities (230%), and the rates of protein synthesis (345 and 450%). Large increases (i.e., 200-400%) in cathepsins B and L and dipeptidyl aminopeptidase I activities during stretch, with or without stimulation, suggest a role for these enzymes in tissue remodeling during muscle hypertrophy.

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