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Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 1999 Jan;159(1):283-9.

Acute treatment with corticosteroids decreases IGF-1 and IGF-2 expression in the rat diaphragm and gastrocnemius.

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Respiratory Muscle Research Unit, Laboratory of Pneumology, and Laboratory for Experimental Medicine and Endocrinology, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Leuven, Belgium.


Massive doses of methylprednisolone (M) or triamcinolone (T) induced diaphragmatic type IIx/b atrophy, resulting in a leftward shift of the force-frequency curve in rats (). To examine the role of insulin-like growth factors (IGFs) in these changes, IGF mRNA content was measured in costal diaphragm, gastrocnemius, and liver removed from 32 rats treated daily during 5 d either with saline (control, C and pair-fed, PF), M, or T (80 mg/kg). Blood samples were taken to measure IGF-1 serum levels. RNA levels were measured by Northern and dot-blots after hybridization with rat IGF-1 or IGF-2 cDNA probes labeled with alpha-32P. Compared with C (845 +/- 128 ng/ml), IGF-1 serum levels were significantly decreased in M (699 +/- 90 ng/ml, p < 0.001 versus C) and PF animals (505 +/- 33 ng/ml, p < 0.001 versus others) and even more so, in T-treated animals (273 +/- 134 ng/ml, p < 0.001 versus others). Along the same lines, IGF-1 expression in the liver was depressed after corticosteroid treatment and in PF, whereas IGF-2 mRNA content remained unchanged. Compared with C, the relative expression of IGF-1 mRNA in the diaphragm was depressed by 44% and 69% in the M and T groups, respectively (p < 0.0001 versus C), while it was unchanged in PF animals. In the gastrocnemius, IGF-1 expression was reduced after M and T (-51% and -59%, respectively, p < 0.0001 versus C) as well as in PF animals (-40%, p < 0.001 versus C). For IGF-2, a similar pattern of expression was found in the diaphragm and the gastrocnemius. Indeed, IGF-2 mRNA tended to decrease in corticosteroid-treated rats (NS) whereas it was unchanged in PF rats. We conclude that decreased IGF expression after corticosteroid treatment was similar in diaphragm and gastrocnemius and may be responsible for the diaphragmatic changes observed after steroid treatment.

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