Parkin Overexpression Attenuates Sepsis-Induced Muscle Wasting

Cells. 2020 Jun 11;9(6):1454. doi: 10.3390/cells9061454.


Sepsis elicits skeletal muscle weakness and fiber atrophy. The accumulation of injured mitochondria and depressed mitochondrial functions are considered as important triggers of sepsis-induced muscle atrophy. It is unclear whether mitochondrial dysfunctions in septic muscles are due to the inadequate activation of quality control processes. We hypothesized that overexpressing Parkin, a protein responsible for the recycling of dysfunctional mitochondria by the autophagy pathway (mitophagy), would confer protection against sepsis-induced muscle atrophy by improving mitochondrial quality and content. Parkin was overexpressed for four weeks in the limb muscles of four-week old mice using intramuscular injections of adeno-associated viruses (AAVs). The cecal ligation and perforation (CLP) procedure was used to induce sepsis. Sham operated animals were used as controls. All animals were studied for 48 h post CLP. Sepsis resulted in major body weight loss and myofiber atrophy. Parkin overexpression prevented myofiber atrophy in CLP mice. Quantitative two-dimensional transmission electron microscopy revealed that sepsis is associated with the accumulation of enlarged and complex mitochondria, an effect which was attenuated by Parkin overexpression. Parkin overexpression also prevented a sepsis-induced decrease in the content of mitochondrial subunits of NADH dehydrogenase and cytochrome C oxidase. We conclude that Parkin overexpression prevents sepsis-induced skeletal muscle atrophy, likely by improving mitochondrial quality and contents.

Keywords: mitochondria; mitochondrial fission; mitochondrial fusion; muscle atrophy; septicemia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cecum / pathology
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Ligation
  • Male
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mitochondria / metabolism
  • Mitochondrial Dynamics
  • Muscle Fibers, Skeletal / pathology
  • Muscular Atrophy / etiology*
  • Muscular Atrophy / genetics
  • Muscular Atrophy / pathology
  • Sepsis / complications*
  • Signal Transduction
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases / metabolism*


  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases
  • parkin protein