Pyrroloquinoline Quinone Resists Denervation-Induced Skeletal Muscle Atrophy by Activating PGC-1α and Integrating Mitochondrial Electron Transport Chain Complexes

PLoS One. 2015 Dec 8;10(12):e0143600. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0143600. eCollection 2015.

Abstract

Denervation-mediated skeletal muscle atrophy results from the loss of electric stimulation and leads to protein degradation, which is critically regulated by the well-confirmed transcriptional co-activator peroxisome proliferator co-activator 1 alpha (PGC-1α). No adequate treatments of muscle wasting are available. Pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ), a naturally occurring antioxidant component with multiple functions including mitochondrial modulation, demonstrates the ability to protect against muscle dysfunction. However, it remains unclear whether PQQ enhances PGC-1α activation and resists skeletal muscle atrophy in mice subjected to a denervation operation. This work investigates the expression of PGC-1α and mitochondrial function in the skeletal muscle of denervated mice administered PQQ. The C57BL6/J mouse was subjected to a hindlimb sciatic axotomy. A PQQ-containing ALZET® osmotic pump (equivalent to 4.5 mg/day/kg b.w.) was implanted subcutaneously into the right lower abdomen of the mouse. In the time course study, the mouse was sacrificed and the gastrocnemius muscle was prepared for further myopathological staining, energy metabolism analysis, western blotting, and real-time quantitative PCR studies. We observed that PQQ administration abolished the denervation-induced decrease in muscle mass and reduced mitochondrial activities, as evidenced by the reduced fiber size and the decreased expression of cytochrome c oxidase and NADH-tetrazolium reductase. Bioenergetic analysis demonstrated that PQQ reprogrammed the denervation-induced increase in the mitochondrial oxygen consumption rate (OCR) and led to an increase in the extracellular acidification rate (ECAR), a measurement of the glycolytic metabolism. The protein levels of PGC-1α and the electron transport chain (ETC) complexes were also increased by treatment with PQQ. Furthermore, PQQ administration highly enhanced the expression of oxidative fibers and maintained the type II glycolytic fibers. This pre-clinical in vivo study suggests that PQQ may provide a potent therapeutic benefit for the treatment of denervation-induced atrophy by activating PGC-1α and maintaining the mitochondrial ETC complex in skeletal muscles.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Denervation
  • Electron Transport
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mitochondria / metabolism*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / drug effects*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / innervation
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism
  • Muscle, Skeletal / pathology
  • Oxidative Phosphorylation
  • PQQ Cofactor / pharmacology*
  • Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor Gamma Coactivator 1-alpha
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism*

Substances

  • Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor Gamma Coactivator 1-alpha
  • Ppargc1a protein, mouse
  • Transcription Factors
  • PQQ Cofactor

Grant support

The authors received funding from Taipei Medical University (TMU101-AE3-Y08).