Remarkable preservation of Ca(2+) homeostasis and inhibition of apoptosis contribute to anti-muscle atrophy effect in hibernating Daurian ground squirrels.Sci Rep 2016; 6:27020SR
The underlying mechanisms that hibernators deviated from muscle atrophy during prolonged hibernating inactivity remain elusive. This study tested the hypothesis that the maintenance of intracellular Ca(2+) homeostasis and inhibition of apoptosis would be responsible for preventing muscle atrophy in hibernating Daurian ground squirrels. The results showed that intracellular Ca(2+) homeostasis was maintained in soleus and extensor digitorum longus (EDL) in hibernation and post-hibernation, while cytosolic Ca(2+) was overloaded in gastrocnemius (GAS) in hibernation with a recovery in post-hibernation. The Ca(2+) overload was also observed in interbout arousals in all three type muscles. Besides, the Bax/Bcl-2 ratio was unchanged in transcriptional level among pre-hibernation, hibernation and interbout arousals, and reduced to a minimum in post-hibernation. Furthermore, the Bax/Bcl-2 ratio in protein level was reduced in hibernation but recovered in interbout arousals. Although cytochrome C was increased in GAS and EDL in post-hibernation, no apoptosis was observed by TUNEL assay. These findings suggested that the intracellular Ca(2+) homeostasis in hibernation might be regulated by the cytosolic Ca(2+) overload during interbout arousals, which were likely responsible for preventing muscle atrophy via inhibition of apoptosis. Moreover, the muscle-specificity indicated that the different mechanisms against disuse-induced atrophy might be involved in different muscles in hibernation.