Muscle loss occurs following injury and immobilization in adulthood and childhood, which impairs the rehabilitation process, however, far fewer studies have been conducted analyzing atrophic response in infants. This work investigated first the morphological and molecular mechanisms involved in immobilization-induced atrophy in soleus muscles from rats at different stages of postnatal development [i.e., weanling (WR) and adult (AR) rats] and, second, the role of autophagy in regulating muscle plasticity during immobilization. Hindlimb immobilization for 10 days reduced muscle mass and fiber cross-sectional area, with more pronounced atrophy in WR, and induced slow-to-fast fiber switching. These effects were accompanied by a decrease in markers of protein synthesis and an increase in autophagy. The Ub-ligase MuRF1 and the ubiquitinated proteins were upregulated by immobilization in AR while the autolysed form of μ-calpain was increased in WR. To further explore the role of autophagy in muscle abnormalities, AR were concomitantly immobilized and treated with colchicine, which blocks autophagosome-lysosome fusion. Colchicine-treated immobilized muscles had exacerbated atrophy and presented degenerative features. Despite Igf1/Akt signaling was downregulated in immobilized muscles from both age groups, Foxo1 and 4 phosphorylation was increased in WR. In the same group of animals, Foxo1 acetylation and Foxo1 and 4 content was increased and decreased, respectively. Our data show that muscle disorders induced by 10-day-immobilization occurs in both age-dependent and -independent manners, an understanding that may optimize treatment outcomes in infants. We also provide further evidences that the strong inhibition of autophagy may be ineffective for treating muscle atrophy.
- muscle atrophy
- fiber type
- Igf1/Akt/Foxo signaling
- protein metabolism
- Copyright © 2015, Journal of Applied Physiology