Acetylcholine synthesis, storage, degredation and nicotinic receptores in a rat model for space-induced muscle atrophy Public Deposited

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  • Space flight results in loss of mass and function in skeletal muscle. Data from manned flights and animal biosatellites give evidence of possible changes in neuromuscular interactions. Components at the neuromuscular junction are a potential site of action for this space-induced muscle atrophy. We examined the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor population (Bmax) and affinity (Kd), the activity of choline acetyltransferase (ChAT) and acetylcholinesterase (AChE), and the endogenous levels of acetylcholine (ACh) and choline (Ch). We assayed the hindlimb soleus, gastrocnemius and tibialis, and the forelimb triceps brachii muscles after 1, 3 or 8 weeks of supsension. Bmax was greater than controls in the triceps brachii and in the gastrocnemius after 3 and 8 weeks of suspension respectively. Receptor Kd was decreased in the soleus muscles of rats suspended for 3 weeks. Enzyme activity decreased from control animals' levels in all 4 muscles, with the time to effect varying depending on the muscle and the enzyme. No difference was found in endogenous ACh levels in the soleus, but levels were increased in the gastrocnemius (3 weeks), and decreased in the tibialis (3 weeks) and triceps brachii (1 week). Ch levels were decreased in the soleus (1 and 3 weeks) and gastrocnemius (3 weeks) with no change from control levels in the tibialis and triceps brachii. Testosterone, as an anabolic hormone to skeletal muscle, was assayed in suspended and control rats. We found no difference from control animals in total testes tissue levels. Plasma levels were increased in suspended animals after 8 weeks.
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