Time-dependent reduction in oxidative capacity among cultured myotubes from spinal cord injured individuals

Acta Physiol (Oxf). 2024 Jul;240(7):e14156. doi: 10.1111/apha.14156. Epub 2024 May 6.


Background: Skeletal muscle adapts in reaction to contractile activity to efficiently utilize energy substrates, primarily glucose and free fatty acids (FA). Inactivity leads to atrophy and a change in energy utilization in individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI). The present study aimed to characterize possible inactivity-related differences in the energy metabolism between skeletal muscle cells cultured from satellite cells isolated 1- and 12-months post-SCI.

Methods: To characterize inactivity-related disturbances in spinal cord injury, we studied skeletal muscle cells isolated from SCI subjects. Cell cultures were established from biopsy samples from musculus vastus lateralis from subjects with SCI 1 and 12 months after the injury. The myoblasts were proliferated and differentiated into myotubes before fatty acid and glucose metabolism were assessed and gene and protein expressions were measured.

Results: The results showed that glucose uptake was increased, while oleic acid oxidation was reduced at 12 months compared to 1 month. mRNA expressions of PPARGC1α, the master regulator of mitochondrial biogenesis, and MYH2, a determinant of muscle fiber type, were significantly reduced at 12 months. Proteomic analysis showed reduced expression of several mitochondrial proteins.

Conclusion: In conclusion, skeletal muscle cells isolated from immobilized subjects 12 months compared to 1 month after SCI showed reduced fatty acid metabolism and reduced expression of mitochondrial proteins, indicating an increased loss of oxidative capacity with time after injury.

Keywords: metabolism; mitochondria; skeletal muscle cells; spinal cord injury.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Fatty Acids / metabolism
  • Female
  • Glucose / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Fibers, Skeletal* / metabolism
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Spinal Cord Injuries* / metabolism
  • Time Factors


  • Glucose
  • Fatty Acids