Neurogenic muscle atrophy is the loss of skeletal muscle mass and function that occurs with nerve injury and in denervating diseases, such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Aside from prompt restoration of innervation and exercise where feasible, there are currently no effective strategies for maintaining skeletal muscle mass in the setting of denervation. We conducted a longitudinal analysis of gene expression changes occurring in atrophying skeletal muscle and identified growth arrest and DNA damage-inducible A (Gadd45a) as a gene that shows one of the earliest and most sustained increases in expression in skeletal muscle after denervation. We evaluated the role of this induction using genetic mouse models and found that mice lacking GADD45A showed accelerated and exacerbated neurogenic muscle atrophy, as well as loss of fiber type identity. Our genetic analyses demonstrate that, rather than directly contributing to muscle atrophy as proposed in earlier studies, GADD45A induction likely represents a protective negative feedback response to denervation. Establishing the downstream effectors that mediate this protective effect and the pathways they participate in may yield new opportunities to modify the course of muscle atrophy.
Jeffrey T. Ehmsen, Riki Kawaguchi, Damlanur Kaval, Anna E. Johnson, Daniel Nachun, Giovanni Coppola, Ahmet Höke
Guidelines: The Editorial Board will only consider letters that we deem relevant and of interest to our readers. We will not post data that have not been subjected to peer review, nor will we post letters that are essentially a reiteration of another letter. We reserve the right to edit any letter for length, content, and clarity. Authors will be notified by e-mail if their letters were accepted. No appeals will be considered.
Specific requirements: All letters must be 400 words or fewer. You may enter the letter as plain text or HTML. The author's name and e-mail address are required, and will be posted with the letter. All possible conflicts of interest must be noted, even if they are not posted. If you wish to include a figure (keep in mind that non-peer-reviewed data will not be posted), please contact the editors directly at email@example.com.