NERVE-DEPENDENT CHANGES IN SKELETAL MUSCLE MYOSIN HEAVY CHAIN AFTER EXPERIMENTAL DENERVATION AND CROSS-REINNERVATION AND IN A DEMYELINATING MOUSE MODEL OF CHARCOT–MARIE–TOOTH DISEASE TYPE 1A

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Abstract

Innervation regulates the contractile properties of vertebrate muscle fibers, in part through the effect of electrical activity on expression of distinct myosins. Herein we analyze the role of innervation in regulating the accumulation of the general, maturational, and adult forms of rodent slow myosin heavy chain (MyHC) that are defined by the presence of distinct antigenic epitopes. Denervation increases the number of fibers that express general slow MyHC, but it decreases the adult slow MyHC epitope. Cross-reinnervation of slow muscle by a fast nerve leads to an increase in the number of fibers that express fast MyHC. In both cases, there is an increase in the number of fibers that express slow and fast IIA MyHCs, but without the adult slow MyHC epitope. The data suggest that innervation is required for maturation and maintenance of diversity of both slow and fast fibers. The sequence of slow MyHC epitope transitions is a useful biomarker, and it may play a significant role during nerve-dependent changes in muscle fiber function. We applied this detailed muscle analysis to a transgenic mouse model of human motor and sensory neuropathy IA, also known as Charcot–Marie–Tooth disease type 1A (CMT1A), in which electrical conduction in some motor nerves is poor due to demyelination. The mice display atrophy of some muscle fibers and changes in slow and fast MyHC epitope expression, suggestive of a progressive increase in innervation of muscle fibers by fast motor neurons, even at early stages. The potential role of these early changes in disease pathogenesis is assessed. Muscle Nerve 38: 1572–1584, 2008

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