Friday, November 7, 2008

nNOS: The Canary in the Mine

Yesterday's post focused on the utility of neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS) histochemisty in muscle biopsies. Dr. Steve Moore, who was also featured yesterday, kindly sent me a link to an article by a fellow University of Iowa faculty member, Dr. Kevin Campbell (pictured with his lab staff) and colleagues. Recently published in Nature, the article is titled: Sarcolemma-localized nNOS is required to maintain activity after mild exercise.

Campbell and colleagues address the phenomenon of exaggerated muscle fatigue after exercise, a finding present in many neuromuscular disorders. Using mouse models, the Campbell lab showed that sarcolemma-localized signalling by nNOS in skeletal muscle is required to maintain activity after mild exercise. To quote the abstract: "We show that nNOS-null mice do not have muscle pathology and have no loss of muscle-specific force after exercise but do display this exaggerated fatigue response to mild exercise.... Our findings suggest that the mechanism underlying the exaggerated fatigue response to mild exercise is a lack of contraction-induced signalling from sarcolemma-localized nNOS, which decreases cGMP-mediated vasomodulation in the vessels that supply active muscle after mild exercise. Sarcolemmal nNOS staining was decreased in patient biopsies from a large number of distinct myopathies, suggesting a common mechanism of fatigue. Our results suggest that patients with an exaggerated fatigue response to mild exercise would show clinical improvement in response to treatment strategies aimed at improving exercise-induced signalling." It is interesting that there was no histomorphological pathology in the nNOS-null mice, suggesting that nNOS histochemical staining of patient biopsies might reveal an underlying disease process in otherwise non-specific biopsy findings. Or, as Steve Moore put it, nNOS can function as the "canary in the mine" for detecting myopathies.

1 comment:

Gretchen Magruder said...

hey - thanks for commenting....I happen to LOVE neurologists!! okay, that sounds weird, but my husband had a craniopharyngioma removed trasphenoidally in 1999 so we've spent alot of time with neurologists/endocrinologists/neuropsychologists. His pituitary was destroyed and he experienced significant permanent memory loss, problems with sequencing (and maybe some judgment....or maybe it's just his male-ness :), and loss of peripheral vision. Anyway, I thought it was funny when I popped over to your blog and saw the connection....