Mitochondria Adapt to Diaphragm Muscle Inactivity Imposed by Cervical Spinal Cord Injury

Alyssa D. Brown, Matthew J. Fogarty, Debanjali Dasgupta, Leah A. Davis, Carlos B. Mantilla, Gary C Sieck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Type I and IIa diaphragm muscle (DIAm) fibers comprise fatigue resistant slow and fast motor units that are recruited to accomplish breathing. In contrast, type IIx/IIb fibers comprise more fatigable fast motor units that are infrequently recruited only during airway protective and straining behaviors. The activity and energetic demand for type I and IIa DIAm fibers is markedly increased compared to type IIx/IIb fibers. Cervical spinal cord hemisection at C2 (C2 SH) removes excitatory drive for inspiratory activity of the DIAm and thereby imposing prolonged inactivity of type I and IIa fibers. We hypothesize that mitochondrial structure and function in type I and IIa DIAm fibers adapt in response to imposed inactivity induced by spinal cord hemisection at C2 (C2 SH). After C2 SH, inactivity was confirmed by the absence of DIAm EMG, and after 14 days, and the effect of inactivity on mitochondrial structure and function was assessed in type identified fibers. Mitochondria in DIAm fibers were labeled using MitoTracker Green and imaged in 3-D by fluorescence confocal microscopy. Mitochondrial volume density and morphometry were analyzed using ImageJ. In alternate serial sections of the same DIAm fibers, the maximum velocity of the succinate dehydrogenase reaction (SDHmax ) was determined using a quantitative histochemical technique. Overall, mitochondrial volume density was higher in type I and IIa DIAm fibers and mitochondria were more filamentous compared to type IIx/IIb fibers. Inactivity reduced mitochondrial volume density in type I and IIa DIAm fibers and induced mitochondrial fragmentation. The SDHmax values normalized for fiber volume and for mitochondrial volume were both higher in type I and IIa DIAm fibers compared to type IIx/IIb fibers. After 14 days of inactivity induced by C2 SH, SDHmax (normalized for fiber volume and for mitochondrial volume) decreased in type I and IIa. These results are consistent with mitochondrial structural and functional adaptions to the marked reduction in the energetic demand of type I and IIa DIAm fibers imposed by C2 SH.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics

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