Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
ISSN: 1303 - 2968   
Ios-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Androit-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2014) 13, 934 - 944

Research article
Calcineurin-NFAT Signaling and Neurotrophins Control Transformation of Myosin Heavy Chain Isoforms in Rat Soleus Muscle in Response to Aerobic Treadmill Training
Wenfeng Liu1,2, Gan Chen1, Fanling Li3, Changfa Tang1, , Dazhong Yin2,4
Author Information
1 Hunan Provincial Key Laboratory of Physical Fitness and Sports Rehabilitation, Hunan Normal University, Qingyuan, Guangdong, China
2 The Key Laboratory of Protein Chemistry and Developmental Biology of Ministry of Education and Hunan Normal University, Qingyuan, Guangdong, China
3 Hunan Provincial People’s Hospital, Hunan Normal University, Qingyuan, Guangdong, China
4 Qingyuan People's Hospital of Jinan University, Qingyuan, Guangdong, China

Changfa Tang
✉ College of Physical Education, Hunan Normal University, Changsha, Hunan, 410012, China
Publish Date
Received: 26-07-2014
Accepted: 08-09-2014
Published (online): 01-12-2014
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This study elucidated the role of CaN-NFAT signaling and neurotrophins on the transformation of myosin heavy chain isoforms in the rat soleus muscle fiber following aerobic exercise training. To do so, we examined the content and distribution of myosin heavy chain (MyHC) isoforms in the rat soleus muscle fiber, the activity of CaN and expression of NFATc1 in these fibers, and changes in the expression of nerve growth factor (NGF), brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and neutrophin-3 (NT-3) in the soleus and striatum following high-and medium-intensity aerobic treadmill training. Specific pathogen-free 2 month old male Sprague-Dawley (SD) rats were randomly divided into three groups: Control group (Con, n = 8), moderate-intensity aerobic exercise group (M-Ex, n = 8) and high-intensity aerobic exercise group (H-Ex, n = 8). We used ATPase staining to identify the muscle fiber type I and II, SDS-PAGE to separate and analyze the isoforms MyHCI, MyHCIIA, MyHCIIB and MyHCIIx, and performed western blots to determine the expression of NFATc1, NGF, BDNF and NT-3. CaN activity was measured using a colorimetric assay. In the soleus muscle, 8 weeks of moderate-intensity exercise can induce transformation of MyHC IIA and MyHC IIB to MyHC IIX and MyHC I (p < 0.01), while high-intensity treadmill exercise can induce transform MyHC IIx to MyHC IIB, MyHC IIA and MyHC I (p < 0.01). In comparison to the control group, CaN activity and NFATcl protein level were significantly increased in both the M-Ex and H-Ex groups (p < 0.05, p < 0.01), with a more pronounced upregulation in the M-Ex group (p < 0.05). Eight weeks of moderate- and high-intensity aerobic exercise induced the expression of NGF, BDNF and NT-3 in the soleus muscle and the striatum (p < 0.01), with the most significant increase in the H-Ex group (p < 0.01). In the rat soleus muscle, (1) CaN–NFATcl signaling contributes to the conversion of MyHC I isoform in response to moderate-intensity exercise; (2) Neurotrophins NGF, BDNF and NT-3 might play a role in the conversion of MyHC II isoform in response to high-intensity treadmill exercise.

Key words: Aerobic treadmill training, the muscle fiber type, neurotrophins, Myosin heavy chain isoforms transformation, Calcineurin/Nuclear factor of activated T cells c1

           Key Points
  • Eight weeks of moderate-intensity treadmill training induces the transformation MyHC IIA and MyHC IIB to MyHC IIX and MyHC I in the soleus muscles, while high-intensity exercise leads to transformation of MyHC IIX to MyHC IIA, MyHC IIB and MyHC I.
  • MyHC I conversion in response to moderate-intensity aerobic exercise is mediated by calcineurin-NFATcl signaling.
  • Eight weeks of moderate- and high-ntensity aerobic exercise induces the expression of NGF, BDNF and NT-3 in expression noted in rats subjected to high-intensity training. NGF and NT-3 expression in the striatum is lower than in the soleus muscle, while BDNF levels are similar. Neurotrophins may be involved in mediating MyHC II conversion in response to high-intensity aerobic exercise.
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