Publications by authors named "Adriano Fonzino"

14 Publications

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Ultrasonography validation for early alteration of diaphragm echodensity and function in the mdx mouse model of Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

PLoS One 2021 12;16(1):e0245397. Epub 2021 Jan 12.

Section of Pharmacology, Department of Pharmacy-Drug Sciences, University of Bari "Aldo Moro", Bari, Italy.

The mdx mouse model of Duchenne muscular dystrophy is characterized by functional and structural alterations of the diaphragm since early stages of pathology, closely resembling patients' condition. In recent years, ultrasonography has been proposed as a useful longitudinal non-invasive technique to assess mdx diaphragm dysfunction and evaluate drug efficacy over time. To date, only a few preclinical studies have been conducted. Therefore, an independent validation of this method by different laboratories is needed to increase results reliability and reduce biases. Here, we performed diaphragm ultrasonography in 3- and 6-month-old mdx mice, the preferred age-window for pharmacology studies. The alteration of diaphragm function over time was measured as diaphragm ultrasound movement amplitude. At the same time points, a first-time assessment of diaphragm echodensity was performed, as an experimental index of progressive loss of contractile tissue. A parallel evaluation of other in vivo and ex vivo dystrophy-relevant readouts was carried out. Both 3- and 6-month-old mdx mice showed a significant decrease in diaphragm amplitude compared to wild type (wt) mice. This index was well-correlated either with in vivo running performance or ex vivo isometric tetanic force of isolated diaphragm. In addition, diaphragms from 6-month-old dystrophic mice were also highly susceptible to eccentric contraction ex vivo. Importantly, we disclosed an age-dependent increase in echodensity in mdx mice not observed in wt animals, which was independent from abdominal wall thickness. This was accompanied by a notable increase of pro-fibrotic TGF-β1 levels in the mdx diaphragm and of non-muscle tissue amount in diaphragm sections stained by hematoxylin & eosin. Our findings corroborate the usefulness of diaphragm ultrasonography in preclinical drug studies as a powerful tool to monitor mdx pathology progression since early stages.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0245397PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7802948PMC
January 2021

Changes in Expression and Cellular Localization of Rat Skeletal Muscle ClC-1 Chloride Channel in Relation to Age, Myofiber Phenotype and PKC Modulation.

Front Pharmacol 2020 15;11:714. Epub 2020 May 15.

Department of Pharmacy-Drug Sciences, University of Bari "Aldo Moro", Bari, Italy.

The ClC-1 chloride channel 1 is important for muscle function as it stabilizes resting membrane potential and helps to repolarize the membrane after action potentials. We investigated the contribution of ClC-1 to adaptation of skeletal muscles to needs induced by the different stages of life. We analyzed the ClC-1 gene and protein expression as well as mRNA levels of protein kinase C (PKC) alpha and theta involved in ClC-1 modulation, in soleus (SOL) and extensor digitorum longus (EDL) muscles of rats in all stage of life. The cellular localization of ClC-1 in relation to age was also investigated. Our data show that during muscle development ClC-1 expression differs according to phenotype. In fast-twitch EDL muscles ClC-1 expression increased 10-fold starting at 7 days up to 8 months of life. Conversely, in slow-twitch SOL muscles ClC-1 expression remained constant until 33 days of life and subsequently increased fivefold to reach the adult value. Aging induced a downregulation of gene and protein ClC-1 expression in both muscle types analyzed. The mRNA of PKC-theta revealed the same trend as ClC-1 except in old age, whereas the mRNA of PKC-alpha increased only after 2 months of age. Also, we found that the ClC-1 is localized in both membrane and cytoplasm, in fibers of 12-day-old rats, becoming perfectly localized on the membrane in 2-month-old rats. This study could represent a point of comparison helpful for the identification of accurate pharmacological strategies for all the pathological situations in which ClC-1 protein is altered.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fphar.2020.00714DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7243361PMC
May 2020

Oxytocin/Osteocalcin/IL-6 and NGF/BDNF mRNA Levels in Response to Cold Stress Challenge in Mice: Possible Oxytonic Brain-Bone-Muscle-Interaction.

Front Physiol 2019 27;10:1437. Epub 2019 Nov 27.

Department of Pharmacy-Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Bari Aldo Moro, Bari, Italy.

Oxytocin (Oxt), osteocalcin (Ost), and NGF/BDNF have a role in bone homeostasis, reproduction, and cognition. Oxt/Ost is required for muscle repair. We investigated gene response of muscle and the inter-organ communication following cold stress (CS). The mRNA quantity of , , , , , , , , , , and genes in bone, brain, soleus (SOL), and (TA) muscles from adult mice following CS were investigated. The myosin heavy-chain , , , and gene expression were investigated. Mice were maintained at = 23°C or 4°C for 6 h and 5-days (5d). CS mice did not show signs of muscle degeneration. An upregulation of and genes by 2 and 1.5 folds, respectively, in TA after 6 h CS and by 4 and 22 folds in SOL muscle after 6 h and 5d CS, respectively, was observed; while after 6 h CS was downregulated in either muscle. was unaffected, while after 5d CS was upregulated in TA. was downregulated in SOL by 0.9-folds at 5d. Following 5d CS, and genes were upregulated, respectively, by 1 and 1.5 folds in SOL. A downregulation of , respectively, by 0.96 and 0.88-folds after 6 h and 5d CS in SOL and was also downregulated by 0.88-fold after 5d CS in TA. and were not affected. Changes in the expression levels of genes in TA and SOL muscles, bone, and brain following CS were regulated by IL6 and Oxt. CS potentiates the slow-twitch phenotype of SOL which is in line with the metabolic need of this muscle, and the potentiation of the slow-twitch phenotype in TA. Oxt and IL6 coordinate a phenotype-dependent tonic effect of slow-twitch muscle and Oxt regulates the inter-organ interaction between brain and SOL muscle. Muscle tropism is maintained by NGF signaling following CS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2019.01437DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6890828PMC
November 2019

Elucidating the Contribution of Skeletal Muscle Ion Channels to Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis in search of new therapeutic options.

Sci Rep 2019 02 28;9(1):3185. Epub 2019 Feb 28.

Department of Pharmacy-Drug Sciences, University of Bari Aldo Moro, 70125, Bari, Italy.

The discovery of pathogenetic mechanisms is essential to identify new therapeutic approaches in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). Here we investigated the role of the most important ion channels in skeletal muscle of an ALS animal model (MLC/SOD1) carrying a mutated SOD1 exclusively in this tissue, avoiding motor-neuron involvement. Ion channels are fundamental proteins for muscle function, and also to sustain neuromuscular junction and nerve integrity. By a multivariate statistical analysis, using machine learning algorithms, we identified the discriminant genes in MLC/SOD1 mice. Surprisingly, the expression of ClC-1 chloride channel, present only in skeletal muscle, was reduced. Also, the expression of Protein Kinase-C, known to control ClC-1 activity, was increased, causing its inhibition. The functional characterization confirmed the reduction of ClC-1 activity, leading to hyperexcitability and impaired relaxation. The increased expression of ion channel coupled AMPA-receptor may contribute to sustained depolarization and functional impairment. Also, the decreased expression of irisin, a muscle-secreted peptide protecting brain function, may disturb muscle-nerve connection. Interestingly, the in-vitro application of chelerythrine or acetazolamide, restored ClC-1 activity and sarcolemma hyperexcitability in these mice. These findings show that ion channel function impairment in skeletal muscle may lead to motor-neuron increased vulnerability, and opens the possibility to investigate on new compounds as promising therapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-39676-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6395744PMC
February 2019

Effect of a long-term treatment with metformin in dystrophic mdx mice: A reconsideration of its potential clinical interest in Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

Biochem Pharmacol 2018 08 21;154:89-103. Epub 2018 Apr 21.

Section of Pharmacology, Department of Pharmacy - Drug Sciences, University of Bari "Aldo Moro", Bari, Italy. Electronic address:

The pharmacological stimulation of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) via metabolic enhancers has been proposed as potential therapeutic strategy for Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). Metformin, a widely-prescribed anti-hyperglycemic drug which activates AMPK via mitochondrial respiratory chain, has been recently tested in DMD patients in synergy with nitric oxide (NO)-precursors, with encouraging results. However, preclinical data supporting the use of metformin in DMD are still poor, and its actions on skeletal muscle appear controversial. Therefore, we investigated the effects of a long-term treatment with metformin (200 mg/kg/day in drinking water, for 20 weeks) in the exercised mdx mouse model, characterized by a severe mechanical-metabolic maladaptation. Metformin significantly ameliorated histopathology in mdx gastrocnemius muscle, in parallel reducing TGF-β1 with a recovery score (r.s) of 106%; this was accompanied by a decreased plasma matrix-metalloproteinase-9 (r.s. 43%). In addition, metformin significantly increased mdx diaphragm twitch and tetanic tension ex vivo (r.s. 44% and 36%, respectively), in spite of minor effects on in vivo weakness. However, no clear protective actions on dystrophic muscle metabolism were observed, as shown by the poor metformin effect on AMPK activation measured by western blot, on the expression of mechanical-metabolic response genes analyzed by qPCR, and by the lack of fast-to-slow fiber-type-shift assessed by SDH staining in tibialis anterior muscle. Similar results were obtained in the milder phenotype of sedentary mdx mice. The lack of metabolic effects could be, at least partly, due to metformin inability to increase low mdx muscle levels of l-arginine, l-citrulline and taurine, found by HPLC. Our findings encourage to explore alternative, metabolism-independent mechanisms of action to differently repurpose metformin in DMD, supporting its therapeutic combination with NO-sources.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bcp.2018.04.022DOI Listing
August 2018

Evaluation of Short and Long Term Cold Stress Challenge of Nerve Grow Factor, Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor, Osteocalcin and Oxytocin mRNA Expression in BAT, Brain, Bone and Reproductive Tissue of Male Mice Using Real-Time PCR and Linear Correlation Analysis.

Front Physiol 2017 11;8:1101. Epub 2018 Jan 11.

Department of Pharmacy-Drug Sciences, University of Bari Aldo Moro, Bari, Italy.

The correlation between the and , Osteocalcin-/ and Oxytocin- genes, was challenged investigating their mRNA levels in 3 months-old mice after cold-stress (CS). Uncoupling protein-1 ( was used as positive control. Control mice were maintained at room temperature T = 25°C, CS mice were maintained at T = 4°C for 6 h and 5-days ( = 15 mice). RT-PCR experiments showed that and genes were up-regulated after 6 h CS in brown adipose tissues (BAT), respectively, by 2 and 1.5-folds; was upregulated also after 5-days, while and genes were downregulated after 6 h and 5-days CS in BAT. and were upregulated in bone and testis following 5-days, and in testis after 6 h CS. was instead up-regulated in bone following 5-days CS and down-regulated in testis. was upregulated by 16 and 3-fold in bone and BAT, respectively, following 5-days CS. was upregulated after 6 h in brain, while ( gene was downregulated. gene was upregulated by 5-fold following 5-days CS in bone. was upregulated by 0.5 and 0.3-fold, respectively, following 6 h and 5-days CS in brain. and were downregulated in testis and in BAT. The changes in the expression levels of control genes vs. genes following 6 h and 5-days CS were correlated in all tissues, but not in BAT. Correlation in BAT was improved eliminating data. The correlation in brain was lost eliminating data. In sum, potentiation in BAT after cold stress is associated with early -response in the same tissue and trophic action in bone and testis. In contrast, BDNF exerts bone and neuroprotective effects. Similarly to ( signaling is enhanced in bone and BAT while it may exert local neuroprotective effects thought its receptor. regulates the adaptation to CS through a feed-back loop in BAT. regulates the gene-response to CS through a feed-forward loop in brain. Overall these results expand the understanding of the physiology of these molecules under metabolic thermogenesis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2017.01101DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5768886PMC
January 2018

Growth hormone secretagogues hexarelin and JMV2894 protect skeletal muscle from mitochondrial damages in a rat model of cisplatin-induced cachexia.

Sci Rep 2017 10 12;7(1):13017. Epub 2017 Oct 12.

Department of Biosciences, Biotechnologies and Biopharmaceutics, University of Bari "A. Moro", Bari, Italy.

Chemotherapy can cause cachexia, which consists of weight loss associated with muscle atrophy. The exact mechanisms underlying this skeletal muscle toxicity are largely unknown and co-therapies to attenuate chemotherapy-induced side effects are lacking. By using a rat model of cisplatin-induced cachexia, we here characterized the mitochondrial homeostasis in tibialis anterior cachectic muscle and evaluated the potential beneficial effects of the growth hormone secretagogues (GHS) hexarelin and JMV2894 in this setting. We found that cisplatin treatment caused a decrease in mitochondrial biogenesis (PGC-1α, NRF-1, TFAM, mtDNA, ND1), mitochondrial mass (Porin and Citrate synthase activity) and fusion index (MFN2, Drp1), together with changes in the expression of autophagy-related genes (AKT/FoxO pathway, Atg1, Beclin1, LC3AII, p62) and enhanced ROS production (PRX III, MnSOD). Importantly, JMV2894 and hexarelin are capable to antagonize this chemotherapy-induced mitochondrial dysfunction. Thus, our findings reveal a key-role played by mitochondria in the mechanism responsible for GHS beneficial effects in skeletal muscle, strongly indicating that targeting mitochondrial dysfunction might be a promising area of research in developing therapeutic strategies to prevent or limit muscle wasting in cachexia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-13504-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5638899PMC
October 2017

Risk of Myopathy in Patients in Therapy with Statins: Identification of Biological Markers in a Pilot Study.

Front Pharmacol 2017 27;8:500. Epub 2017 Jul 27.

Section of Pharmacology, Department of Pharmacy and Drug Sciences, University of Bari Aldo MoroBari, Italy.

Statin therapy may induce skeletal muscle damage ranging from myalgia to severe rhabdomyolysis. Our previous preclinical studies showed that statin treatment in rats involves the reduction of skeletal muscle ClC-1 chloride channel expression and related chloride conductance (gCl). An increase of the activity of protein kinase C theta (PKC theta) isoform, able to inactivate ClC-1, may contribute to destabilize sarcolemma excitability. These effects can be detrimental for muscle function leading to drug-induced myopathy. Our goal is to study the causes of statin-induced muscle side effects in patients at the aim to identify biological markers useful to prevent and counteract statin-induced muscle damage. We examined 10 patients, who experienced myalgia and hyper-CK-emia after starting statin therapy compared to 9 non-myopathic subjects not using lipid-lowering drugs. Western Blot (WB) analysis showed a 40% reduction of ClC-1 protein and increased expression of phosphorylated PKC in muscle biopsies of statin-treated patients with respect to untreated subjects, independently from their age and statin type. Real-time PCR analysis showed that despite reduction of the protein, the ClC-1 mRNA was not significantly changed, suggesting post-transcriptional modification. The mRNA expression of a series of genes was also evaluated. MuRF-1 was increased in accord with muscle atrophy, MEF-2, calcineurin (CN) and GLUT-4 transporter were reduced, suggesting altered transcription, alteration of glucose homeostasis and energy deficit. Accordingly, the phosphorylated form of AMPK, measured by WB, was increased, suggesting cytoprotective process activation. In parallel, mRNA expression of Notch-1, involved in muscle cell proliferation, was highly expressed in statin-treated patients, indicating active regeneration. Also, PGC-1-alpha and isocitrate-dehydrogenase increased expression together with increased activity of mitochondrial citrate-synthase, measured by spectrophotometric assay, suggests mitochondrial biogenesis. Thus, the reduction of ClC-1 protein and consequent sarcolemma hyperexcitability together with energy deficiency appear to be among the most important alterations to be associated with statin-related risk of myopathy in humans. Thus, it may be important to avoid statin treatment in pathologies characterized by energy deficit and chloride channel malfunction. This study validates the measure of ClC-1 expression as a reliable clinical test for assessing statin-dependent risk of myopathy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fphar.2017.00500DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5529355PMC
July 2017

Growth hormone secretagogues prevent dysregulation of skeletal muscle calcium homeostasis in a rat model of cisplatin-induced cachexia.

J Cachexia Sarcopenia Muscle 2017 Jun 10;8(3):386-404. Epub 2017 Mar 10.

Department of Pharmacy - Drug Sciences, University of Bari, Via Orabona 4, 70125, Bari, Italy.

Background: Cachexia is a wasting condition associated with cancer types and, at the same time, is a serious and dose-limiting side effect of cancer chemotherapy. Skeletal muscle loss is one of the main characteristics of cachexia that significantly contributes to the functional muscle impairment. Calcium-dependent signaling pathways are believed to play an important role in skeletal muscle decline observed in cachexia, but whether intracellular calcium homeostasis is affected in this situation remains uncertain. Growth hormone secretagogues (GHS), a family of synthetic agonists of ghrelin receptor (GHS-R1a), are being developed as a therapeutic option for cancer cachexia syndrome; however, the exact mechanism by which GHS interfere with skeletal muscle is not fully understood.

Methods: By a multidisciplinary approach ranging from cytofluorometry and electrophysiology to gene expression and histology, we characterized the calcium homeostasis in fast-twitch extensor digitorum longus (EDL) muscle of adult rats with cisplatin-induced cachexia and established the potential beneficial effects of two GHS (hexarelin and JMV2894) at this level. Additionally, in vivo measures of grip strength and of ultrasonography recordings allowed us to evaluate the functional impact of GHS therapeutic intervention.

Results: Cisplatin-treated EDL muscle fibres were characterized by a ~18% significant reduction of the muscle weight and fibre diameter together with an up-regulation of atrogin1/Murf-1 genes and a down-regulation of Pgc1-a gene, all indexes of muscle atrophy, and by a two-fold increase in resting intracellular calcium, [Ca ] , compared with control rats. Moreover, the amplitude of the calcium transient induced by caffeine or depolarizing high potassium solution as well as the store-operated calcium entry were ~50% significantly reduced in cisplatin-treated rats. Calcium homeostasis dysregulation parallels with changes of functional ex vivo (excitability and resting macroscopic conductance) and in vivo (forelimb force and muscle volume) outcomes in cachectic animals. Administration of hexarelin or JMV2894 markedly reduced the cisplatin-induced alteration of calcium homeostasis by both common as well as drug-specific mechanisms of action. This effect correlated with muscle function preservation as well as amelioration of various atrophic indexes, thus supporting the functional impact of GHS activity on calcium homeostasis.

Conclusions: Our findings provide a direct evidence that a dysregulation of calcium homeostasis plays a key role in cisplatin-induced model of cachexia gaining insight into the etiopathogenesis of this form of muscle wasting. Furthermore, our demonstration that GHS administration efficaciously prevents cisplatin-induced calcium homeostasis alteration contributes to elucidate the mechanism of action through which GHS could potentially ameliorate chemotherapy-associated cachexia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jcsm.12185DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5703021PMC
June 2017

Contractile efficiency of dystrophic mdx mouse muscle: in vivo and ex vivo assessment of adaptation to exercise of functional end points.

J Appl Physiol (1985) 2017 Apr 5;122(4):828-843. Epub 2017 Jan 5.

Section of Pharmacology, Department of Pharmacy and Drug Sciences, University of Bari "Aldo Moro," Bari, Italy;

Progressive weakness is a typical feature of Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) patients and is exacerbated in the benign mdx mouse model by in vivo treadmill exercise. We hypothesized a different threshold for functional adaptation of mdx muscles in response to the duration of the exercise protocol. In vivo weakness was confirmed by grip strength after 4, 8, and 12 wk of exercise in mdx mice. Torque measurements revealed that exercise-related weakness in mdx mice correlated with the duration of the protocol, while wild-type (WT) mice were stronger. Twitch and tetanic forces of isolated diaphragm and extensor digitorum longus (EDL) muscles were lower in mdx compared with WT mice. In mdx, both muscle types exhibited greater weakness after a single exercise bout, but only in EDL after a long exercise protocol. As opposite to WT muscles, mdx EDL ones did not show any exercise-induced adaptations against eccentric contraction force drop. qRT-PCR analysis confirmed the maladaptation of genes involved in metabolic and structural remodeling, while damage-related genes remained significantly upregulated and angiogenesis impaired. Phosphorylated AMP kinase level increased only in exercised WT muscle. The severe histopathology and the high levels of muscular TGF-β1 and of plasma matrix metalloproteinase-9 confirmed the persistence of muscle damage in mdx mice. Therefore, dystrophic muscles showed a partial degree of functional adaptation to chronic exercise, although not sufficient to overcome weakness nor signs of damage. The improved understanding of the complex mechanisms underlying maladaptation of dystrophic muscle paves the way to a better managment of DMD patients. We focused on the adaptation/maladaptation of dystrophic mdx mouse muscles to a standard protocol of exercise to provide guidance in the development of more effective drug and physical therapies in Duchenne muscular dystrophy. The mdx muscles showed a modest functional adaptation to chronic exercise, but it was not sufficient to overcome the progressive in vivo weakness, nor to counter signs of muscle damage. Therefore, a complex involvement of multiple systems underlies the maladaptive response of dystrophic muscle.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1152/japplphysiol.00776.2015DOI Listing
April 2017

Nerve Growth Factor, Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor and Osteocalcin Gene Relationship in Energy Regulation, Bone Homeostasis and Reproductive Organs Analyzed by mRNA Quantitative Evaluation and Linear Correlation Analysis.

Front Physiol 2016 13;7:456. Epub 2016 Oct 13.

Department of Pharmacy - Drug Sciences, University of Bari Bari, Italy.

Nerve Growth Factor (NGF)/Brain-derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) and osteocalcin share common effects regulating energy, bone mass, reproduction and neuronal functions. To investigate on the gene-relationship between NGF, BDNF, and Osteocalcin we compared by RT-PCR the transcript levels of and as well as of their receptors , and in brain, bone, white/brown adipose tissue (WAT/BAT) and reproductive organs of 3 months old female and male mice. Brain and bone were used as positive controls for NGF/BDNF and Osteocalcin respectively. The role of oxitocin() and its receptor() was also investigated. expression shows an opposite trend compared to . / expression is 50% higher in BAT than brain, in both genders, but lower in bone. In contrast, expression in bone is higher than in brain, but low in BAT/WAT. We found gene expressed in brain in both genders, but expression is low in brain and BAT/WAT. As expected, gene is expressed in bone. gene was markedly expressed in brain, in the ovaries and in fat and bone in both genders. is highly expressed in reproductive tissues and mRNA levels are respectively 300, 100, and 50% higher in testis/ovaries/uterus than in brain. In contrast, BDNF genes are not expressed in reproductive tissues. As expected, is expressed in testis but not in the ovaries/uterus. A significant correlation was found between the expression levels of the gene ligands and their receptors in brain, BAT and testis suggesting a common pathway of different genes in these tissues in either male and female. Changes in the expression levels of , or genes may mutually affect the expression levels of the others. Moreover, it may be possible that different ligands may operate through different receptor subtypes. and failed to show significant correlation. The up-regulation of / in BAT is consistent with NGF as an energy regulator and with BDNF regulating bone.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2016.00456DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5061807PMC
October 2016

Statin-induced myotoxicity is exacerbated by aging: A biophysical and molecular biology study in rats treated with atorvastatin.

Toxicol Appl Pharmacol 2016 09 1;306:36-46. Epub 2016 Jul 1.

Section of Pharmacology, Department of Pharmacy & Drug Sciences, University of Bari - Aldo Moro, Bari, Italy. Electronic address:

Statin-induced skeletal muscle damage in rats is associated to the reduction of the resting sarcolemmal chloride conductance (gCl) and ClC-1 chloride channel expression. These drugs also affect the ClC-1 regulation by increasing protein kinase C (PKC) activity, which phosphorylate and close the channel. Also the intracellular resting calcium (restCa) level is increased. Similar alterations are observed in skeletal muscles of aged rats, suggesting a higher risk of statin myotoxicity. To verify this hypothesis, we performed a 4-5-weeks atorvastatin treatment of 24-months-old rats to evaluate the ClC-1 channel function by the two-intracellular microelectrodes technique as well as transcript and protein expression of different genes sensitive to statins by quantitative real-time-PCR and western blot analysis. The restCa was measured using FURA-2 imaging, and histological analysis of muscle sections was performed. The results show a marked reduction of resting gCl, in agreement with the reduced ClC-1 mRNA and protein expression in atorvastatin-treated aged rats, with respect to treated adult animals. The observed changes in myocyte-enhancer factor-2 (MEF2) expression may be involved in ClC-1 expression changes. The activity of PKC was also increased and further modulate the gCl in treated aged rats. In parallel, a marked reduction of the expression of glycolytic and mitochondrial enzymes demonstrates an impairment of muscle metabolism. No worsening of restCa or histological features was found in statin-treated aged animals. These findings suggest that a strong reduction of gCl and alteration of muscle metabolism coupled to muscle atrophy may contribute to the increased risk of statin-induced myopathy in the elderly.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.taap.2016.06.032DOI Listing
September 2016

In vivo longitudinal study of rodent skeletal muscle atrophy using ultrasonography.

Sci Rep 2016 Feb 1;6:20061. Epub 2016 Feb 1.

Department of Biomedical Sciences &Human Oncology, Polyclinic Biological Research Institute, University of Bari Aldo Moro, P.zza Giulio Cesare 11, Bari, 70124 Italy.

Muscle atrophy is a widespread ill condition occurring in many diseases, which can reduce quality of life and increase morbidity and mortality. We developed a new method using non-invasive ultrasonography to measure soleus and gastrocnemius lateralis muscle atrophy in the hindlimb-unloaded rat, a well-accepted model of muscle disuse. Soleus and gastrocnemius volumes were calculated using the conventional truncated-cone method and a newly-designed sinusoidal method. For Soleus muscle, the ultrasonographic volume determined in vivo with either method was linearly correlated to the volume determined ex-vivo from excised muscles as muscle weight-to-density ratio. For both soleus and gastrocnemius muscles, a strong linear correlation was obtained between the ultrasonographic volume and the muscle fiber cross-sectional area determined ex-vivo on muscle cryosections. Thus ultrasonography allowed the longitudinal in vivo evaluation of muscle atrophy progression during hindlimb unloading. This study validates ultrasonography as a powerful method for the evaluation of rodent muscle atrophy in vivo, which would prove useful in disease models and therapeutic trials.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/srep20061DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4735519PMC
February 2016

Effects of Nandrolone in the Counteraction of Skeletal Muscle Atrophy in a Mouse Model of Muscle Disuse: Molecular Biology and Functional Evaluation.

PLoS One 2015 11;10(6):e0129686. Epub 2015 Jun 11.

Section of Pharmacology, Dept. of Pharmacy & Drug Sciences, University of Bari "Aldo Moro", Bari, Italy.

Muscle disuse produces severe atrophy and a slow-to-fast phenotype transition in the postural Soleus (Sol) muscle of rodents. Antioxidants, amino-acids and growth factors were ineffective to ameliorate muscle atrophy. Here we evaluate the effects of nandrolone (ND), an anabolic steroid, on mouse skeletal muscle atrophy induced by hindlimb unloading (HU). Mice were pre-treated for 2-weeks before HU and during the 2-weeks of HU. Muscle weight and total protein content were reduced in HU mice and a restoration of these parameters was found in ND-treated HU mice. The analysis of gene expression by real-time PCR demonstrates an increase of MuRF-1 during HU but minor involvement of other catabolic pathways. However, ND did not affect MuRF-1 expression. The evaluation of anabolic pathways showed no change in mTOR and eIF2-kinase mRNA expression, but the protein expression of the eukaryotic initiation factor eIF2 was reduced during HU and restored by ND. Moreover we found an involvement of regenerative pathways, since the increase of MyoD observed after HU suggests the promotion of myogenic stem cell differentiation in response to atrophy. At the same time, Notch-1 expression was down-regulated. Interestingly, the ND treatment prevented changes in MyoD and Notch-1 expression. On the contrary, there was no evidence for an effect of ND on the change of muscle phenotype induced by HU, since no effect of treatment was observed on the resting gCl, restCa and contractile properties in Sol muscle. Accordingly, PGC1α and myosin heavy chain expression, indexes of the phenotype transition, were not restored in ND-treated HU mice. We hypothesize that ND is unable to directly affect the phenotype transition when the specialized motor unit firing pattern of stimulation is lacking. Nevertheless, through stimulation of protein synthesis, ND preserves protein content and muscle weight, which may result advantageous to the affected skeletal muscle for functional recovery.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0129686PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4466268PMC
May 2016