Regulation of skeletal muscle dihydropyridine receptor gene expression by biomechanical unloading

S. Kandarian, S. O'Brien, K. Thomas, L. Schulte, J. Navarro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Biomechanical unloading of the rat soleus by hindlimb unweighting is known to induce atrophy and a slow- to fast-twitch transition of skeletal muscle contractile properties, particularly in slow-twitch muscles such as the soleus. The purpose of this study was to determine whether the expression of the dihydropyridine (DHP) receptor gene is upregulated in unloaded slow- twitch soleus muscles. A rat DHP receptor cDNA was isolated by screening a random-primed cDNA lambda gt10 library from denervated rat skeletal muscle with oligonucleotide probes complementary to the coding region of the rabbit DHP receptor cDNA. Muscle mass and DHP receptor mRNA expression were assessed 1, 4, 7, 14, and 28 days after hindlimb unweighting in rats by tail suspension. Isometric twitch contraction times of soleus muscles were measured at 28 days of unweighting. Northern blot analysis showed that tissue distribution of DHP receptor mRNA was specific for skeletal muscle and expression was 200% greater in control fast-twitch extensor digitorum longus (EDL) than in control soleus muscles. A significant stimulation (80%) in receptor message of the soleus was induced as early as 24 h of unloading without changes in muscle mass. Unloading for 28 days induced marked atrophy (control = 133 ± 3 vs. unweighted = 62.4 ± 1.8 mg), and expression of the DHP receptor mRNA in the soleus was indistinguishable from levels normally expressed in EDL muscles. These changes in mRNA expression are in the same direction as the 37% reduction in time to peak tension and 28% decrease in half-relaxation time 28 days after unweighting. Our results suggest that muscle loading necessary for weight support modulates the expression of the DHP receptor gene in the soleus muscle.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2510-2514
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1992
Externally publishedYes


  • contractile properties
  • hindlimb suspension
  • hindlimb unweighting
  • muscle atrophy
  • rat
  • soleus
  • twitch

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


Dive into the research topics of 'Regulation of skeletal muscle dihydropyridine receptor gene expression by biomechanical unloading'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this