Alterations in Skeletal Muscle Oxidative Phenotype in Mice Exposed to 3 Weeks of Normobaric Hypoxia

Ilse G. M. Slot, Annemie M. W. J. Schols, Chiel C. De Theije, Frank J. M. Snepvangers, Harry R. Gosker*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Skeletal muscle of patients with chronic respiratory failure is prone to loss of muscle mass and oxidative phenotype. Tissue hypoxia has been associated with cachexia and emphysema in humans. Experimental research on the role of hypoxia in loss of muscle oxidative phenotype, however, has yielded inconsistent results. Animal studies are frequently performed in young animals, which may hinder translation to generally older aged patients. Therefore, in this study, we tested the hypothesis that hypoxia induces loss of skeletal muscle oxidative phenotype in a model of aged (52 weeks) mice exposed to 3 weeks of hypoxia. Additional groups of young (4 weeks) and adult (12 weeks) mice were included to examine age effects. To verify hypoxia-induced cachexia, fat pad and muscle weights as well as muscle fiber cross-sectional areas were determined. Muscle oxidative phenotype was assessed by expression and activity of markers of mitochondrial metabolism and fiber-type distribution. A profound loss of muscle and fat was indeed accompanied by a slightly lower expression of markers of muscle oxidative capacity in the aged hypoxic mice. In contrast, hypoxia-associated changes of fiber-type composition were more prominent in the young mice. The differential response of the muscle of young, adult, and aged mice to hypoxia suggests that age matters and that the aged mouse is a better model for translation of findings to elderly patients with chronic respiratory disease. Furthermore, the findings warrant further mechanistic research into putative accelerating effects of hypoxia-induced loss of oxidative phenotype on the cachexia process in chronic respiratory disease. J. Cell. Physiol. 231: 377-392, 2016.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)377-392
JournalJournal of Cellular Physiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2016

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