BACKGROUND: Controlled mechanical ventilation (CMV) is associated with diaphragm dysfunction. Dysfunction results from muscle atrophy and injury of diaphragm muscle fibers. Enhanced proteolysis and reduced protein synthesis play an important role in the development of atrophy. The current study is to evaluate the effects of the calpains inhibitor calpeptin on the development of diaphragm atrophy and activation of key enzymes of the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway in rats under CMV.
METHODS: Three groups of rats were studied: control animals (CON, n = 8), rats subjected to 24 h of MV (CMV, n = 8), and rats subjected to 24 h of MV after administration of the calpain inhibitor calpeptin (CMVC, n = 8). The diaphragm was analyzed for calpain activity, myosin heavy chain (MHC) content, and cross-sectional area (CSA) of diaphragmatic muscle fibers as a marker for muscle atrophy. In addition, key enzymes of the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway (MAFbx and MuRF1) were also studied.
RESULTS: CMV resulted in loss of both MHCfastand MHCslow. Furthermore, the CSA of diaphragmatic muscle fibers was significantly decreased after 24 h of CMV. However, calpain inhibitor calpeptin prevented loss of MHC and CSA after CMV. In addition, calpeptin prevented the increase in protein expression of calpain1 and calpain2 and reduced calpain activity as indicated by reduced generation of the calpain cleavage product αII-spectrin in the diaphragm. CMV-induced upregulation of both MAFbx and MuRF1 protein levels was attenuated by treatment with calpeptin.
CONCLUSIONS: The calpain inhibitor calpeptin prevents MV-induced muscle atrophy. In addition, calpeptin attenuated the expression of key proteolytic enzymes known to be involved in ventilator-induced diaphragm atrophy, including MAFbx and MuRF1.