The present study addressed the hypothesis that reducing mTOR, as seen in mTOR heterozygous (+/-) mice, would exaggerate the changes in protein synthesis and degradation observed during hindlimb immobilization as well as impair normal muscle regrowth during the recovery period. Atrophy was produced by unilateral hindlimb immobilization and data compared to the contralateral gastrocnemius. In wild-type (WT) mice, the gradual loss of muscle mass plateaued by day 7. This response was associated with a reduction in basal protein synthesis and development of leucine resistance. Proteasome activity was consistently elevated, but atrogin-1 and MuRF1 mRNAs were only transiently increased returning to basal values by day 7. When assessed 7 days after immobilization, the decreased muscle mass and protein synthesis and increased proteasome activity did not differ between WT and mTOR+/- mice. Moreover, the muscle inflammatory cytokine response did not differ between groups. After 10 days of recovery, WT mice showed no decrement in muscle mass, and this accretion resulted from a sustained increase in protein synthesis and a normalization of proteasome activity. In contrast, mTOR+/- mice failed to fully replete muscle mass at this time, a defect caused by the lack of a compensatory increase in protein synthesis. The delayed muscle regrowth of the previously immobilized muscle in the mTOR+/- mice was associated with a decreased raptor•4EBP1 and increased raptor•Deptor binding. Slowed regrowth was also associated with a sustained inflammatory response (e.g., increased TNFα and CD45 mRNA) during the recovery period and a failure of IGF-I to increase as in WT mice. These data suggest mTOR is relatively more important in regulating the accretion of muscle mass during recovery than the loss of muscle during the atrophy phase, and that protein synthesis is more sensitive than degradation to the reduction in mTOR during muscle regrowth.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)