Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is accompanied by pain, inflammation and muscle weakness. Skeletal muscle inflammation and inactivity are independently associated with muscle insulin resistance and atrophy. Our objective was to identify early molecular and biochemical markers in muscle from a rodent model of RA relative to control and subsequently identify commonality in muscle gene expression between this model and muscle from RA patients. Pain behaviour and locomotor activity were measured in a collagen-induced arthritis (CIA) model of RA (n = 9) and control (n = 9) rats. Energy substrates and metabolites, total alkaline-soluble protein:DNA ratio and mRNA abundance of 46 targeted genes were also determined in Extensor digitorum longus muscle. Expression of targeted mRNAs was quantified in Vastus Lateralis muscle from RA patients (n = 7) and healthy age-matched control volunteers (n = 6). CIA rats exhibited pain behaviour (p<0.01) and reduced activity (p<0.05) compared to controls. Muscle glycogen content was less (p<0.05) and muscle lactate content greater (p<0.01) in CIA rats. The bioinformatics analysis of muscle mRNA abundance differences from the control, predicted the activation of muscle protein metabolism and inhibition of muscle carbohydrate and fatty acid metabolism in CIA rats. Compared to age-matched control volunteers, RA patients exhibited altered muscle mRNA expression of 8 of the transcripts included as targets in the CIA model of RA. In conclusion, muscle energy metabolism and metabolic gene expression were altered in the CIA model, which was partly corroborated by targeted muscle mRNA measurements in RA patients. This research highlights the negative impact of RA on skeletal muscle metabolic homeostasis.

References

PubMed