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Although macrophage accumulation plays a key role in the development of immobilization-induced muscle fibrosis, the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. Therefore, we focused on the alterations of myonuclear apoptosis via cleaved caspase-3, and investigated whether these changes may be related to macrophage accumulation. Eight-week-old Wistar rats were divided into immobilization and control groups, and the soleus muscles were selected for analysis. The mRNA and protein expression of collagen and the number of CD11b-positive cells were significantly higher in the immobilized rats than in the control rats at 1 and 2 weeks. TdT-mediated dUTP nick end-labeling (TUNEL)-positive myonuclei counts in 1- and 2-week control rats were 0.2 ± 0.1 and 0.2 ± 0.5, whereas they were 1.0 ± 0.6 and 1.1 ± 0.5 in 1- and 2-week immobilized rats. The cleaved caspase-3 protein expressions in 1- and 2-week control rats were 0.2 ± 0.1 and 0.2 ± 0.1, whereas they were 0.5 ± 0.1 and 0.4 ± 0.2 in 1- and 2-week immobilized rats. TUNEL-positive myonuclei counts and cleaved caspase-3 protein expression were significantly higher in immobilized rats than in control rats at 1 and 2 weeks. The numbers of myonuclei in 1- and 2-week control rats were 2.8 ± 0.1 and 2.6 ± 0.4, whereas they were 2.2 ± 0.4 and 2.2 ± 0.2 in 1- and 2-week immobilized rats. The numbers of myonuclei were significantly lower in immobilized than in control rats at both time-points. Myonuclear apoptosis via the upregulation of cleaved caspase-3 might induce macrophage accumulation. These alterations are related to immobilization-induced muscle fibrosis. © 2021 Wiley Periodicals LLC.


Natsumi Tanaka, Yuichiro Honda, Yasuhiro Kajiwara, Hideki Kataoka, Tomoki Origuchi, Junya Sakamoto, Minoru Okita. Myonuclear apoptosis via cleaved caspase-3 upregulation is related to macrophage accumulation underlying immobilization-induced muscle fibrosis. Muscle & nerve. 2022 Mar;65(3):341-349

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PMID: 34890049

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