Skeletal muscle can adapt to increased mechanical loads by undergoing hypertrophy. Transient reductions in whole muscle force production have been reported during the onset of hypertrophy, but contractile changes in individual muscle fibers have not been previously studied. Additionally, the extracellular matrix (ECM) stores and transmits forces from muscle fibers to tendons and bones, and determining how the ECM changes during hypertrophy is important in understanding the adaptation of muscle tissue to mechanical loading. Using the synergist ablation model, we sought to measure changes in muscle fiber contractility, collagen content, and cross-linking, and in the expression of several genes and activation of signaling proteins that regulate critical components of myogenesis and ECM synthesis and remodeling during muscle hypertrophy. Tissues were harvested 3, 7, and 28 days after induction of hypertrophy, and nonoverloaded rats served as controls. Muscle fiber specific force (sFo), which is the maximum isometric force normalized to cross-sectional area, was reduced 3 and 7 days after the onset of mechanical overload, but returned to control levels by 28 days. Collagen abundance displayed a similar pattern of change. Nearly a quarter of the transcriptome changed over the course of overload, as well as the activation of signaling pathways related to hypertrophy and atrophy. Overall, this study provides insight into fundamental mechanisms of muscle and ECM growth, and indicates that although muscle fibers appear to have completed remodeling and regeneration 1 mo after synergist ablation, the ECM continues to be actively remodeling at this time point.
NEW & NOTEWORTHY This study utilized a rat synergist ablation model to integrate changes in single muscle fiber contractility, extracellular matrix composition, activation of important signaling pathways in muscle adaption, and corresponding changes in the muscle transcriptome to provide novel insight into the basic biological mechanisms of muscle fiber hypertrophy.
- permeabilized muscle fibers
- extracellular matrix
- Copyright © 2017 the American Physiological Society