Redox status and muscle pathology in rheumatoid arthritis : insights from various rat hindlimb muscles

Oyenihi, A. B. ; Ollewagen, T. ; Myburgh, K. H. ; Powrie, Y. S. L. ; Smith, C. (2019-03-26)

CITATION: Oyenihi, A. B., et al. 2019. Redox status and muscle pathology in rheumatoid arthritis : insights from various rat hindlimb muscles. Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, 2019, Article ID 2484678, doi:10.1155/2019/2484678.

Publication of this article was funded by the Stellenbosch University Open Access Fund


Due to atrophy, muscle weakness is a common occurrence in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The majority of human studies are conducted on the vastus lateralis muscle—a muscle with mixed fiber type—but little comparative data between multiple muscles in either rodent or human models are available. The current study therefore assessed both muscle ultrastructure and selected redox indicators across various muscles in a model of collagen-induced rheumatoid arthritis in female Sprague-Dawley rats. Only three muscles, the gastrocnemius, extensor digitorum longus (EDL), and soleus, had lower muscle mass (38%, 27%, and 25% loss of muscle mass, respectively; all at least P < 0. 01), while the vastus lateralis muscle mass was increased by 35% (P < 0. 01) in RA animals when compared to non-RA controls. However, all four muscles exhibited signs of deterioration indicative of rheumatoid cachexia. Cross-sectional area was similarly reduced in gastrocnemius, EDL, and soleus (60%, 58%, and 64%, respectively; all P < 0. 001), but vastus lateralis (22% smaller, P < 0. 05) was less affected, while collagen deposition was significantly increased in muscles. This pathology was associated with significant increases in tissue levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in all muscles except the vastus lateralis, while only the gastrocnemius had significantly increased levels of lipid peroxidation (TBARS) and antioxidant activity (FRAP). Current data illustrates the differential responses of different skeletal muscles of the hindlimb to a chronic inflammatory challenge both in terms of redox changes and resistance to cachexia.

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