Variable cytoplasmic actin expression impacts the sensitivity of different dystrophin-deficient mdx skeletal muscles to eccentric contraction

Angus Lindsay, William M. Southern, Preston M. McCourt, Alexie A. Larson, James S. Hodges, Dawn A. Lowe, James M. Ervasti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Eccentric contractions (ECCs) induce force loss in several skeletal muscles of dystrophin-deficient mice (mdx), with the exception of the soleus (Sol). The eccentric force : isometric force (ECC : ISO), expression level of utrophin, fiber type distribution, and sarcoendoplasmic reticulum calcium ATPase expression are factors that differ between muscles and may contribute to the sensitivity of mdx skeletal muscle to ECC. Here, we confirm that the Sol of mdx mice loses only 13% force compared to 87% in the extensor digitorum longus (EDL) following 10 ECC of isolated muscles. The Sol has a greater proportion of fibers expressing Type I myosin heavy chain (MHC) and expresses 2.3-fold more utrophin compared to the EDL. To examine the effect of ECC : ISO, we show that the mdx Sol is insensitive to ECC at ECC : ISO up to 230 ± 15%. We show that the peroneus longus (PL) muscle presents with similar ECC : ISO compared to the EDL, intermediate force loss (68%) following 10 ECC, and intermediate fiber type distribution and utrophin expression relative to EDL and Sol. The combined absence of utrophin and dystrophin in mdx/utrophin−/− mice rendered the Sol only partially susceptible to ECC and exacerbated force loss in the EDL and PL. Most interestingly, the expression levels of cytoplasmic β- and γ-actins correlate inversely with a given muscle's sensitivity to ECC; EDL < PL < Sol. Our data indicate that fiber type, utrophin, and cytoplasmic actin expression all contribute to the differential sensitivities of mdxEDL, PL, and Sol muscles to ECC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2562-2576
Number of pages15
JournalFEBS Journal
Issue number13
StatePublished - Jul 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by National Institutes of Health RO1 AR042423 (JME), RO1 AR049899 (JME), T32-AR00761217 (WMS) and T32-AG029796 (AAL). The authors thank Joe Belanto for assisting in the graphical abstract.


  • Duchenne muscular dystrophy
  • cytoplasmic actin
  • eccentric contraction
  • myosin heavy chain
  • utrophin

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