Hypoxemia in humans may occur during high altitude mountaineering and in patients suffering from ventilatory insufficiencies such as cardiovascular- or respiratory disease including Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). In these conditions, hypoxemia has been correlated to reduced appetite and decreased food intake. Since hypoxemia and reduced food intake intersect in various physiological and pathological conditions and both induce loss of muscle mass, we investigated whether hypoxia aggravates fasting-induced skeletal muscle atrophy and evaluated underlying protein turnover signaling.
Mice were kept under hypoxic (8% oxygen) or normoxic conditions (21% oxygen), or were pair-fed to the hypoxia group for 12 days. Following an additional 24 hours of fasting, muscle weight and protein turnover signaling were assessed in the gastrocnemius muscle by RTqPCR and Western blotting.
Loss of gastrocnemius muscle mass in response to fasting in the hypoxic group was increased compared to the normoxic group, but not to the pair-fed normoxic control group. Conversely, the fasting-induced increase in poly-ubiquitin conjugation, and expression of the ubiquitin 26S-proteasome E3 ligases, autophagy-lysosomal degradation-related mRNA transcripts and proteins, and markers of the integrated stress response (ISR), were attenuated in the hypoxia group compared to the pair-fed group. Mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) downstream signaling was reduced by fasting under normoxic conditions, but sustained under hypoxic conditions. Activation of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) / tuberous sclerosis complex 2 (TSC2) signaling by fasting was absent, in line with retained mTORC1 activity under hypoxic conditions. Similarly, hypoxia suppressed AMPK-mediated glucocorticoid receptor (GR) signaling following fasting, which corresponded with blunted proteolytic signaling responses.
Hypoxia aggravates fasting-induced muscle wasting, and suppresses AMPK and ISR activation. Altered AMPK-mediated regulation of mTORC1 and GR may underlie aberrant protein turnover signaling and affect muscle atrophy responses in hypoxic skeletal muscle.
- OBSTRUCTIVE PULMONARY-DISEASE
- ACUTE EXACERBATION
- INDUCED AUTOPHAGY
- REDD1 EXPRESSION
- ER STRESS