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Bilateral increase in expression and concentration of tachykinin in a unilateral rabbit muscle overuse model that leads to myositis
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Integrative Medical Biology (IMB), Anatomy.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Integrative Medical Biology (IMB), Anatomy.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Surgical and Perioperative Sciences, Sports Medicine.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Integrative Medical Biology (IMB), Anatomy.
2013 (English)In: BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, ISSN 1471-2474, Vol. 14, 134- p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

BACKGROUND: Tachykinins can have pro-inflammatory as well as healing effects during tissue reorganization and inflammation. Recent studies report an up-regulation in the expression of the substance P (SP)-preferred receptor, the neurokinin-1 receptor, in marked muscle inflammation (myositis). There is, however, only very little information on the expression patterns and levels of tachykinins in this situation.

METHODS: The tachykinin system was analyzed using a rabbit experimental model of muscle overuse, whereby unilateral muscle exercise in combination with electrical stimulation led to muscle derangement and myositis in the triceps surae muscle (experimental length 1--6 weeks). Evaluations were made for both parts of the muscle (soleus and gastrocnemius muscles) in experimental and non-experimental (contralateral) sides. Morphologic evaluation, immunohistochemistry, in situ hybridization and enzyme immunoassay (EIA) analyses were applied.

RESULTS: Myositis and muscle derangement occurred focally not only in the experimental side but also in the non-experimental side. In the inflammatory areas (focal myositis areas), there were frequent nerve fibers showing tachykinin-like immunoreactivity and which were parts of nerve fascicles and which were freely dispersed in the tissue. Cells in the inflammatory infiltrates showed tachykinin-like immunoreactivity and tachykinin mRNA expression. Specific immunoreactivity and mRNA expression were noted in blood vessel walls of both sides, especially in focally affected areas. With increasing experimental length, we observed an increase in the degree of immunoreactivity in the vessel walls. The EIA analyses showed that the concentration of tachykinin in the tissue on both sides increased in a time-dependent manner. There was a statistical correlation in the concentration of tachykinin and the level of tachykinin immunoreactivity in the blood vessel walls between experimental and non-experimental sides.

CONCLUSIONS: The observations show an up-regulation of the tachykinin system bilaterally during muscle derangement/myositis in response to pronounced unilateral muscle overuse. This up-regulation occurred in inflammatory areas and was related not only to increased tachykinin innervation but also to tachykinin expression in blood vessel walls and inflammatory cells. Importantly, the tachykinin system appears to be an important factor not only ipsilaterally but also contralaterally in these processes.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 14, 134- p.
Keyword [en]
Muscle, Triceps surae, Muscle overuse, Myositis, Inflammation, Tachykinin, Substance P
National Category
Sport and Fitness Sciences Health Care Service and Management, Health Policy and Services and Health Economy
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-68822DOI: 10.1186/1471-2474-14-134PubMedID: 23587295OAI: diva2:618039
Available from: 2013-04-25 Created: 2013-04-25 Last updated: 2013-12-11Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Cross transfer effects after unilateral muscle overuse: an experimental animal study about alterations in the morphology and the tachykinin system of muscles
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Cross transfer effects after unilateral muscle overuse: an experimental animal study about alterations in the morphology and the tachykinin system of muscles
2013 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Unilateral exercise can produce certain contralateral strength effects. Deleterious events can be cross-transferred as well, as illustrated by a strict symmetry in some chronic inflammatory diseases. To date, knowledge on the effects of marked overuse of skeletal muscles is limited, and there is largely no information if unilateral overuse affects the contralateral muscles. In view of this, the present study was undertaken to test the hypothesis that unilateral muscle overuse causes alterations in tissue structure and the tachykinin system, with a focus on substance P (SP), not only in the exercised muscles, but also in the contralateral muscles. SP is a well-known neuromodulator that is known to be proinflammatory.

An experimental rabbit model with unilateral muscle overuse of the soleus and gastrocnemius muscles caused by exercise via electrical muscle stimulation (E/EMS) was used. In total, 40 rabbits were randomly divided into seven groups of which two groups served as controls. The rabbits were anaesthetized and then set on a “kicking machine” to perform exercise via EMS for 2h every second day. Experimental periods for groups 1-3 were 1, 3 and 6w, respectively, whereas groups 4-6 were exercised for 1w but also subjected to injections in the peritendinous tissue with SP, NaCL, Captopril (C), an ACE inhibitor, and DL-Thiorphan (Th) which inhibits the activity of neural endopeptidase. One group was not subjected to the experiment at all. The day after the last session of E/EMS, the soleus muscle and the gastrocnemius muscle from both legs were collected for analysis. Alterations in muscle structure and the tachykinin system were analyzed with enzyme and immunohistochemical techniques, in situ hybridization and EIA methods.

After 1w of E/EMS, focal areas of the exercised muscles contained a mild infiltration of inflammatory cells (myositis) and small morphological changes. After 3 and 6w of E/EMS, distinct myositis and muscle changes were bilaterally present in focal areas of both muscles. The structural changes, which mainly were observed in myositis areas, consisted of increased fiber size variability, split fibers, internal myonuclei, necrotic fibers, fibrosis, fat infiltration, and small fibers containing developmental MyHCs. Bilateral morphological changes, such as loss of axons, were also observed in nerves. In addition, expressions of tachykinin and the SP-preferred receptor, the neurokinin-1 (NK-1R), were bilaterally upregulated in nerve structures and blood vessel walls.  Infiltrating white blood cells exhibited tachykinin–like and NK-1R immunoreactivity. NK-1R immunoreactions were also found in necrotic and regenerating muscle fibers.

The concentration of tachykinin (SP) was significantly increased in both soleus and gastrocnemius muscles after E/EMS. There was a significant correlation between the two sides in concentration of tachykinin and in the intensity of tachykinin-like immunoreaction in blood vessel walls. The muscle fiber size and capillary supply of fibers were bilaterally decreased after 3w of EMS. The myositis areas contained an increased number of vessels with a larger size than capillaries, while areas with increased amount of connective tissue contained a very low number of capillaries. A bilateral fiber type shift against a lower proportion of slow MyHCI fibers and higher proportion of fast MyHCII fibers was observed in both muscles. The local injections of C+Th and SP+C+Th led to marked structural changes in the muscle tissue and marked increased NK-1R and tachykinin-like immunoreactivity in the myositis areas and increased tachykinin concentration in the tissue.

In conclusion, the repetitive unilateral muscle overuse caused by E/EMS led overtime to muscle injury and myositis. The affected areas contained both degenerative and regenerative alterations in the muscle tissue and nerves, and an upregulation of the tachykinin system. Most interestingly, the changes not only occurred in the exercised side, but also in the homologous contralateral muscles. The tachykinin system appears to be an important factor in the processes of crossover effects. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå Universitet, 2013. 73 p.
Umeå University medical dissertations, ISSN 0346-6612 ; 1581
Triceps surae, overuse, contralateral, muscle, muscle fiber, MyHC, capillary, tachykinin, substance P, NK-1R, inflammation
National Category
Sport and Fitness Sciences Physiology
Research subject
Human Anatomy
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-71242 (URN)978-91-7459-636-6 (PDF) (ISBN)978-91-7459-635-9 (Print) (ISBN)
Public defence
2013-06-14, N320, Naturvetarhuset, Umeå Universitet, Umeå, 13:00 (English)
Available from: 2013-05-24 Created: 2013-05-23 Last updated: 2013-05-24Bibliographically approved

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