Neuromuscular electrical stimulation alters gene expression and delays quadriceps muscle atrophy of rats after anterior cruciate ligament transection


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  • This project was supported by the Fundação de Amparo ̀ Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo (FAPESP; Process No. 2010/06940-7). G.B.D. was a PhD grant holder supported by FAPESP (Process No. 08/03499-8). J.L.Q.D. and T.L.R. were postdoctoral grant holders supported by FAPESP (Process No. 08/09408-4 and 08/05237-0, respectively). S.M.P. was a postdoctoral grant holder supported by Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES).


Introduction: Neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) is used to improve quadriceps mass after anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury. We studied the effect of NMES on mRNA levels of atrophy genes in the quadriceps muscle of rats after ACL transection. Methods: mRNA levels of atrogin-1, MuRF-1, and myostatin were assessed by quantitative PCR and the polyubiquitinated proteins by Western blot at 1, 2, 3, 7, and 15 days postinjury. Results: NMES minimized the accumulation of atrogenes and myostatin according to time period. NMES also prevented reduction in muscle mass in all muscles of the ACLES group at 3 days. Conclusions: Use of NMES decreased the accumulation of atrogenes and myostatin mRNA in the quadriceps muscles, inhibiting early atrophy at 3 days, although it did not prevent atrophy at 7 and 15 days after ACL transection. This study highlights the importance of therapeutic NMES interventions in the acute phase after ACL transection. Muscle Nerve 49: 120–128, 2014