Protein recycling and limb muscle recovery after critical illness in slow- and fast-twitch limb muscle

Sebastien Preau, Michael Ambler, Anna Sigurta, Anna Kleyman, Alex Dyson, Neil E. Hill, Eric Boulanger, Mervyn Singer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


An impaired capacity of muscle to regenerate after critical illness results in long-term functional disability. We previously described in a long-term rat peritonitis model that gastrocnemius displays near-normal histology whereas soleus demonstrates a necrotizing phenotype. We thus investigated the link between the necrotizing phenotype of critical illness myopathy and proteasome activity in these two limb muscles. We studied male Wistar rats that underwent an intraperitoneal injection of the fungal cell wall constituent zymosan or n-saline as a sham-treated control. Rats (n = 74) were killed at 2, 7, and 14 days postintervention with gastrocnemius and soleus muscle removed and studied ex vivo. Zymosan-treated animals displayed an initial reduction of body weight but a persistent decrease in mass of both lower hindlimb muscles. Zymosan increased chymotrypsin- and trypsin-like proteasome activities in gastrocnemius at days 2 and 7 but in soleus at day 2 only. Activated caspases-3 and -9, polyubiquitin proteins, and 14-kDa fragments of myofibrillar actin (proteasome substrates) remained persistently increased from day 2 to day 14 in soleus but not in gastrocnemius. These results suggest that a relative proteasome deficiency in soleus is associated with a necrotizing phenotype during long-term critical illness. Rescuing proteasome clearance may offer a potential therapeutic option to prevent long-term functional disability in critically ill patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)R584-R593
JournalAmerican journal of physiology. Regulatory, integrative and comparative physiology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2019


  • autophagy
  • critical illness
  • myopathy
  • proteasome
  • weakness


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