Stretching and electrical stimulation reduce the accumulation of MyoD, myostatin and atrogin-1 in denervated rat skeletal muscle

  • Thiago L. Russo
  • Sabrina M. Peviani
  • João L. Q. Durigan
  • Davilene Gigo-Benato
  • Gabriel B. Delfino
  • Tania F. SalviniEmail author
Original Paper


Denervation causes muscle atrophy and incapacity in humans. Although electrical stimulation (ES) and stretching (St) are commonly used in rehabilitation, it is still unclear whether they stimulate or impair muscle recovery and reinnervation. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of ES and St, alone and combined (ES + St), on the expression of genes that regulate muscle mass (MyoD, Runx1, atrogin-1, MuRF1 and myostatin), on muscle fibre cross-sectional area and excitability, and on the expression of the neural cell adhesion molecule (N-CAM) in denervated rat muscle. ES, St and ES + St reduced the accumulation of MyoD, atrogin-1 and MuRF1 and maintained Runx1 and myostatin expressions at normal levels in denervated muscles. None of the physical interventions prevented muscle fibre atrophy or N-CAM expression in denervated muscles. In conclusion, although ES, St and ES + St changed gene expression, they were insufficient to avoid muscle fibre atrophy due to denervation.


Skeletal muscle Gene expression Rehabilitation Muscle atrophy Nerve injury 



Cross-sectional area


Electrical stimulation


Glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase


Myogenic regulatory factors


Messenger ribonucleic acid


Muscle-specific RING Finger protein-1


Myogenic differentiation-1 


Neural cell adhesion molecule


Polymerase chain reaction


Runt-related transcription factor 1




Toluidine blue/1% borax



This project was funded by Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo (FAPESP, 07/03160-8) and Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq). D Gigo-Benato and G B Delfino are PhD grant holders supported by FAPESP (Process numbers: 06/52931-4 and 08/03499-8, respectively). T L Russo and J L Q Durigan are post-doctoral grant holders supported by FAPESP (08/05237-0; 08/09408-4, respectively), and S M Peviani is a post-doctoral grant holder supported by Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES). The authors are grateful to Teresa F. F. Piassi for her technical support.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thiago L. Russo
    • 1
  • Sabrina M. Peviani
    • 1
  • João L. Q. Durigan
    • 1
  • Davilene Gigo-Benato
    • 1
  • Gabriel B. Delfino
    • 1
  • Tania F. Salvini
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Physical TherapyFederal University of São CarlosSão PauloBrazil

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