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AIDS Research and Therapy
Chronic alcohol ingestion exacerbates skeletal muscle myopathy in HIV-1 transgenic rats

<p>Caroline R Clary*, Daniel M Guidot*, Margaux A Bratina, and Jeffrey S Otis</p>


August 16, 2011

Background

Separately, chronic alcohol ingestion and HIV-1 infection are associated with severe skeletal muscle derangements, including atrophy and wasting, weakness, and fatigue. One prospective cohort study reported that 41% of HIV-infected patients met the criteria for alcoholism, however; few reports exist on the co-morbid effects of these two disease processes on skeletal muscle homeostasis. Thus, we analyzed the atrophic effects of chronic alcohol ingestion in HIV-1 transgenic rats and identified alterations to several catabolic and anabolic factors.

Findings

Relative plantaris mass, total protein content, and fiber cross-sectional area were reduced in each experimental group compared to healthy, control-fed rats. Alcohol abuse further reduced plantaris fiber area in HIV-1 transgenic rats. Consistent with previous reports, gene levels of myostatin and its receptor activin IIB were not increased in HIV-1 transgenic rat muscle. However, myostatin and activin IIB were induced in healthy and HIV-1 transgenic rats fed alcohol for 12 weeks. Catabolic signaling factors such as TGFβ1, TNFα, and phospho-p38/total-p38 were increased in all groups compared to controls. There was no effect on IL-6, leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF), cardiotrophin-1 (CT-1), or ciliary neurotrophic factor (CNTF) in control-fed, transgenic rats. However, the co-morbidity of chronic alcohol abuse and HIV-1-related protein expression decreased expression of the two anabolic factors, CT-1 and CNTF.

Conclusions

Consistent with previous reports, alcohol abuse accentuated skeletal muscle atrophy in an animal model of HIV/AIDS. While some catabolic pathways known to drive alcoholic or HIV-1-associated myopathies were also elevated in this co-morbid model (e.g., TGFβ1), consistent expression patterns were not apparent. Thus, specific alterations to signaling mechanisms such as the induction of the myostatin/activin IIB system or reductions in growth factor signaling via CT-1- and CNTF-dependent mechanisms may play larger roles in the regulation of muscle mass in alcoholic, HIV-1 models.

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* Corresponding authors: Caroline R Clary clarycaro@gmail.com - Daniel M Guidot guidot6@uga.edu

© 2011 Clary et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.







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