Molecular changes in transcription and metabolic pathways underlying muscle atrophy in the CuZnSOD null mouse model of sarcopenia

Geroscience. 2020 Aug;42(4):1101-1118. doi: 10.1007/s11357-020-00189-x. Epub 2020 May 12.


Mice lacking the superoxide anion scavenger CuZn superoxide dismutase (Sod1-/- mice) develop a number of age-related phenotypes, including an early progression of muscle atrophy and weakness (sarcopenia) associated with loss of innervation. The purpose of this study was to delineate the early development of sarcopenia in the Sod1-/- mice and to measure changes in the muscle transcriptome, proteome, and eicosanoid profile at the stage when sarcopenia is markedly induced in this model (7-9 months of age). We found a strong correlation between muscle atrophy and mitochondrial state 1 hydroperoxide production, which was 40% higher in isolated mitochondria from Sod1-/- mouse gastrocnemius muscle by 2 months of age. The primary pathways showing altered gene expression in Sod1-/- mice identified by RNA-seq transcriptomic analysis are protein ubiquitination, synaptic long-term potentiation, calcium signaling, phospholipase C signaling, AMPK, and TWEAK signaling. Targeted proteomics shows elevated expression of mitochondrial proteins, fatty acid metabolism enzymes, tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle enzymes, and antioxidants, while enzymes involved in carbohydrate metabolism are downregulated in Sod1-/- mice. LC-MS analysis of lipids in gastrocnemius muscle detected 78 eicosanoids, of which 31 are significantly elevated in muscle from Sod1-/- mice. These data suggest that mitochondrial hydroperoxide generation is elevated prior to muscle atrophy and may be a potential driving factor of changes in the transcriptome, proteome, and eicosanoid profile of the Sod1-/- mice. Together, these analyses revealed important molecular events that occur during muscle atrophy, which will pave the way for future studies using new approaches to treat sarcopenia.

Keywords: Aging; Muscle atrophy; Oxidative stress; Reactive oxygen species (ROS); Sarcopenia; Sod1 knockout mice.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Metabolic Networks and Pathways
  • Mice
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism
  • Muscular Atrophy / genetics
  • Muscular Atrophy / metabolism
  • Muscular Atrophy / pathology
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Sarcopenia* / metabolism