Mechanisms of glucocorticoid-induced myopathy

J Endocrinol. 2008 Apr;197(1):1-10. doi: 10.1677/JOE-07-0606.

Abstract

Glucocorticoid-induced muscle atrophy is characterized by fast-twitch or type II muscle fiber atrophy illustrated by decreased fiber cross-sectional area and reduced myofibrillar protein content. Muscle proteolysis, in particular through the ubiquitin- proteasome system (UPS), is considered to play a major role in the catabolic action of glucocorticoids. The stimulation by glucocorticoids of the UPS is mediated through the increased expression of several atrogenes ('genes involved in atrophy'), such as atrogin-1 and MuRF-1, two ubiquitin ligases involved in the targeting of protein to be degraded by the proteasome machinery. Glucocorticoids also exert an anti-anabolic action by blunting muscle protein synthesis. These changes in protein turnover may result from changes in the production of two growth factors which control muscle mass, namely IGF-I and myostatin respectively anabolic and catabolic toward the skeletal muscle. The decreased production of IGF-I as well as the increased production of myostatin have been both demonstrated to contribute to the muscle atrophy caused by glucocorticoids. At the molecular level, IGF-I antagonizes the catabolic action of glucocorticoids by inhibiting, through the PI3-kinase/Akt pathway, the activity of the transcription factor FOXO, a major switch for the stimulation of several atrogenes. These recent progress in the understanding of the glucocorticoid-induced muscle atrophy should allow to define new therapies aiming to minimize this myopathy. Promising new therapeutic approaches for treating glucocorticoid-induced muscle atrophy are also presented in this review.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Activating Transcription Factor 4 / physiology
  • Animals
  • CCAAT-Enhancer-Binding Protein-beta / physiology
  • Forkhead Box Protein O1
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors / physiology
  • Glucocorticoids / toxicity*
  • Glycogen Synthase Kinase 3 / physiology
  • Glycogen Synthase Kinase 3 beta
  • Humans
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I / physiology
  • Muscular Atrophy / chemically induced*
  • Muscular Atrophy / prevention & control
  • Myostatin / physiology
  • Protein Kinases / physiology
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases

Substances

  • ATF4 protein, human
  • CCAAT-Enhancer-Binding Protein-beta
  • FOXO1 protein, human
  • Forkhead Box Protein O1
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors
  • Glucocorticoids
  • Myostatin
  • Activating Transcription Factor 4
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I
  • Protein Kinases
  • MTOR protein, human
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Glycogen Synthase Kinase 3 beta
  • Glycogen Synthase Kinase 3