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  • Author: Maria Rosaria Carratù x
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Elena Conte, Adele Romano, Michela De Bellis, Maria Luisa De Ceglia, Maria Rosaria Carratù, Silvana Gaetani, Fatima Maqoud, Domenico Tricarico, and Claudia Camerino

We explored the involvement of Oxytocin receptor (Oxtr)/ Transient-receptor-potential-vanilloid-1 (TRPV1) genes and Oxytocin (Oxt) on the adaptation of skeletal muscle to cold stress challenge in mice. Oxtr expression in hypothalamic paraventricular (PVN), supraoptic nuclei (SON), and hippocampus (HIPP) were evaluated by immunohistochemistry in parallel with the measurement of circulating Oxt. The Oxtr and TRPV1 gene expression in Soleus (SOL) and Tibialis Anterior (TA) muscles were investigated by RT-PCR. Histological studies of the cardiac muscle after cold stress were also performed. Male mice (n=15) were divided into controls maintained at room temperature (RT=24°C), exposed to cold stress (CS) at T=4°C for 6 hours (6h), and 5 days (5d). Immunohistochemical studies showed that Oxtr protein expression increased by 2-fold (p=0.01) in PVN and by 1.5-fold (p=0.0001) in HIPP after 6h and 5d CS, but decreased by 2-fold (p=0.026) in SON at 5d. Both Oxtr and TRPV1 gene expression increased after 6h and 5d CS in SOL and TA muscles. Oxtr vs TRPV1 gene expression in SOL and TA muscles evaluated by regression analysis was linearly correlated following CS at 6h and 5d but not at control temperature of 24+1°C, supporting the hypothesis of coupling between these genes. The circulating levels of Oxt are unaffected after 6h CS but decreased by 0.2-fold (p=0.0141) after 5d CS. This is the first report that Oxtr and TRPV1 expression are upregulated in response to cold acclimation in skeletal muscle. The up-regulation of Oxtr in PVN and HIPP balances the decrease of circulating Oxt.