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Alterations in the proportions of skeletal muscle proteins following a unilateral lesion to the substantia nigra pars compacta of rats
journal contributionposted on 2005-04-01, 00:00 authored by A Sliwinski, D Stanic, D Finklestein, M Ilic, Jan WestJan West, P Dooley
It is well established that mammalian skeletal muscles exhibit a considerable degree of plasticity and one of the main determining factors of this plasticity is the activity pattern and duration of motoneurone discharge. Lesions to the right substantia nigra pars compacta (SNpc) of six adult rats were made to determine whether altered output from the SNpc ultimately leads to a change in the expression of proteins in contralateral skeletal muscles. After 4 months, altered motor performance was identified by the administration of amphetamine. After 7 months, 30–70% of dopaminergic cells in the SNpc had been destroyed. The protein content of muscles was then quantified from densitometric scans of gels, and expressed as a % of the amount of actin (the protein used as a reference in this study). The lesion affected the expression of different protein isoforms in the fast- and slow-twitch muscles. In slow-twitch soleus muscles, the lesion decreased the proportion of α-tropomyosin and increased the proportion of β-tropomyosin. In the fast-twitch extensor digitorum longus muscles, the lesion increased the proportion of the fast isoform of troponin-T1f, and decreased the proportions of the two isoforms of myosin light chain. This study establishes a connection between the chronic effects of a lesion to the SNpc, with a loss of dopaminergic neurones, impaired motor performance, and altered expression of proteins in skeletal muscle. The implication of these results is that the altered motor function observed in Parkinson’s disease may be associated with alterations to the expression of skeletal muscle proteins.