Nerve-dependent factors regulating transcript levels of glycogen phosphorylase in skeletal muscle

Christopher C. Matthews, Richard C. Carlsen, Byron Froman, Robert Tait, Fredric A Gorin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


1. Muscle glycogen phosphorylase (MGP), the rate-limiting enzyme for glycogen metabolism in skeletal muscle, is neurally regulated. Steady-state transcript levels of the skeletal muscle isozyme of MGP decrease significantly following muscle denervation and after prolonged muscle inactivity with an intact motor nerve. These data suggest that muscle activity has an important influence on MGP gene expression. The evidence to this point, however, does not preclude the possibility that MGP is also regulated by motor neuron-derived trophic factors. This study attempts to distinguish between regulation provided by nerve-evoked muscle contractile activity and that provided by the delivery of neurotrophic factors. 2. Steady-state MGP transcript levels were determined in rat tibialis anterior (TA) muscles following controlled interventions aimed at separating the contributions of contractile activity from axonally transported trophic factors. The innervated TA was rendered inactive by daily epineural injections of tetrodotoxin (TTX) into the sciatic nerve. Sustained inhibition of axonal transport was accomplished by applying one of three different concentrations of the antimicrotubule agent, vinblastine (VIN), to the proximal sciatic nerve for 1 hr. The axonal transport of acetylcholinesterase (AChE) was assessed 7, 14, and 28 days after the single application of VIN. 3. MGP transcript levels normalized to total RNA were reduced by 67% in rat TA, 7 days after nerve section. Daily injection of 2 μg TTX into the sciatic nerve for 7 days eliminated muscle contractile activity and reduced MGP transcript levels by 60%. 4. A single, 1-hr application of 0.10% (w/v) VIN to the sciatic nerve reduced axonal transport but did not alter MGP transcript levels in the associated TA, 7 days after treatment. Application of 0.10% VIN to the sciatic nerve also did not affect IA sensory or motor nerve conduction velocities or TA contractile function. 5. Treatment of the sciatic nerve with 0.40% (w/v) VIN for 1 hr reduced axonal transport and decreased MGP transcript levels by 50% within 7 days, but also reduced sensory and motor nerve conduction velocities and depressed TA contractile function. 6. Myogenin, a member of a family of regulatory factors shown to influence the transcription of many muscle genes, including MGP, was used as a molecular marker for muscle inactivity. Myogenin transcript levels were increased following denervation and after treatment with TTX or 0.40% VIN but not after treatment with 0.10% VIN. 7. The results suggest that MGP transcript levels in TA are regulated predominantly by muscle activity, rather than by the delivery of neurotrophic factors. Intrinsic myogenic factors, however, also play a role in MGP expression, since denervation did not reduce MGP transcript levels below 30% of control TA. The dominant influence of activity in the regulation of MGP contrasts with the proposed regulation of oxidative enzyme expression, which appears to depend on both activity and trophic factor influences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)319-338
Number of pages20
JournalCellular and Molecular Neurobiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1998


  • Denervation
  • Muscle glycogen phosphorylase
  • Myogenin
  • Neurotrophic
  • Skeletal muscle
  • Tetrodotoxin
  • Vinblastine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology
  • Genetics


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