March 22, 2010
TWEAK Triggers Atrophy Of Disused Muscle
A new study in the Journal of Cell Biology (JCB) identifies a cytokine signaling pathway that induces the breakdown of disused skeletal muscle. Blocking this pathway could prevent immobilized patients from losing their muscle tissue. The article appears in the March 22 issue of the JCB.
Skeletal muscle wastes away when its activity is reduced by, for example, a spinal cord injury. Although the mechanism by which muscle fibers break down is understood fairly well, how the process is triggered remains unknown. The TNF-related cytokine TWEAK can induce muscle loss, but whether it does so in disused muscle is unclear.
Mittal, A., et al. 2010. J. Cell Biol. doi:10.1083/jcb.200909117.
Image Caption: Muscle fibers grow smaller after denervation (left), but are protected when TWEAK activity is inhibited by a neutralizing antibody (right). Credit: Mittal, A., et al. 2010. J. Cell Biol. doi:10.1083/jcb.200909117.
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