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TFAM overexpression diminishes skeletal muscle atrophy after hindlimb suspension in mice

Theilen, Nicholas T., Jeremic, Nevena, Weber, Gregory J., Tyagi, Suresh C.
Archives of biochemistry and biophysics 2019 v.666 pp. 138-147
animal models, antioxidants, body weight, exercise, gene overexpression, genes, males, mice, mitochondria, muscles, muscular atrophy, skeletal muscle, superoxide dismutase, therapeutics, transcription factors, transgenic animals
The present study aims to investigate if overexpressing the mitochondrial transcription factor A (TFAM) gene in a transgenic mouse model diminishes soleus and gastrocnemius atrophy occurring during hindlimb suspension (HLS). Additionally, we aim to observe if combining exercise training in TFAM transgenic mice prior to HLS has a synergistic effect in preventing skeletal muscle atrophy. Male C57BL/6J-based transgenic mice (12–14 weeks old) overexpressing TFAM were assigned to a control (T-Control), 7-day HLS (T-HLS), and 2-week exercise training prior to 7-day HLS (T-Ex + HLS) groups. These groups were compared to male C57BL/6J wild-type (WT) mice (12–14 weeks old) assigned to Control, 7-day HLS (HLS), 2-week exercise training prior to 7-day HLS (Ex + HLS), and 2-week exercise training (Ex). Overexpressing TFAM results in a decrease of 8.3% in soleus and 2.6% in gastrocnemius muscle weight to bodyweight ratio after only HLS compared to wild-type mice incurring a loss of 27.1% in soleus and 21.5% in gastrocnemius muscle after HLS. Our data indicates TFAM may play a critical role in protecting skeletal muscle from disuse atrophy and is correlated with increased expression of antioxidants (SOD-2) and potential redox balance. TFAM may be an attractive molecule of interest for potential, future therapeutic development.To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time a TFAM overexpression transgenic mouse model is being used in the analysis of disuse-induced skeletal muscle atrophy. Here we provide evidence of a potential role for TFAM in diminishing skeletal muscle atrophy.