Compensatory anabolic signaling in the sarcopenia of experimental chronic arthritis

Robert D. Little, Iván Prieto-Potin, Sandra Pérez-Baos, Amanda Villalvilla, Paula Gratal, Flavia Cicuttini, Raquel Largo, Gabriel Herrero-Beaumont

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11 Citations (Scopus)


Inflammatory activity in rheumatoid arthritis may alter the regulation of muscle mass leading to a secondary sarcopenia, commonly termed rheumatoid cachexia (RC). We characterized alterations to muscle structure and various pro-inflammatory, catabolic and regenerative markers in an animal model of RC. Antigen induced arthritis (AiA) was performed in 20 male adult rabbits. AiA animals exhibited significantly less weight gain, a markedly elevated serum C-reactive protein (CRP), lighter muscles with shorter cross-sectional diameter and increased myonuclei when compared to controls. Atrogin-1 and MuRF-1 were up-regulated alongside an increase in IL-1β, active NF-κB and a higher ratio of phosphorylated to inactive p38 MAPK. CCL-2 and TNF levels were reduced and IL-6 was unchanged between groups. We observed decreased pSTAT3, unchanged pSTAT1 and Myf5, but increased Pax7, MyoD and myogenin. AiA rabbits had a reduction in myostatin from gastrocnemii and synovium with a congruent decrease in serum myostatin compared to controls. Chronic arthritis induced an RC-like secondary sarcopenia with increased muscle protein breakdown. Elevated IL-1β may trigger proteolysis via elevated NF-κB and p38 MAPK signaling with a compensatory anabolic response suggested by myonuclear expansion, increased Pax7, MyoD and myogenin, reduced pSTAT3 as well as reduced serum, synovial and muscular myostatin.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6311
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017

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