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Intermittent reloading does not prevent iron availability decrease and hepcidin upregulation caused by hindlimb unloading

Abstract : New findings - What is the central question of this study? Could skeletal muscle be involved in microgravity-induced iron misdistribution by modulating expression of hepcidin, the master regulator of iron metabolism? What is the main finding and its importance? We demonstrate, in rats, that hepcidin upregulation is not a transient adaptation associated with early exposure to microgravity and that intermittent reloading does not limit microgravity-induced iron misdistribution despite having a beneficial effect on soleus muscle wasting. Abstract - In humans, exposure to microgravity during spaceflight causes muscle atrophy, changes in iron storage and a reduction in iron availability. We previously observed that during 7 days of simulated microgravity in rats, hepcidin plays a key role in iron misdistribution, and we suggested that a crosstalk between skeletal muscle and liver could regulate hepcidin synthesis in this context. In the present study in rats, we investigated the medium-term effects of simulated microgravity on iron metabolism. We also tested whether intermittent reloading (IR) to target skeletal muscle atrophy limits iron misdistribution efficiently. For this purpose, Wistar rats underwent 14 days of hindlimb unloading (HU) combined or not combined with daily IR. At the end of this period, the serum iron concentration and transferrin saturation were significantly reduced, whereas hepatic hepcidin mRNA was upregulated. However, the main signalling pathways involved in hepcidin synthesis in the liver (BMP-small mothers against decapentaplegic (SMAD), interleukin-6-STAT3 and ERK1/2) were unaffected. Unlike what was observed after 7 days of HU, the iron concentration in the spleen, liver and skeletal muscle was comparable between control animals and those that underwent HU or HU plus IR for 14 days. Despite its beneficial effect on soleus muscle atrophy and slow-to-fast myosin heavy chain distribution, IR did not significantly prevent a reduction in iron availability and hepcidin upregulation. Altogether, these results highlight that iron availability is durably reduced during longer exposure to simulated microgravity and that the related hepcidin upregulation is not a transient adaptation to these conditions. The results also suggest that skeletal muscle does not necessarily play a key role in the iron misdistribution that occurs during simulated microgravity.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, May 19, 2020 - 12:04:02 PM
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Kevin Nay, David Martin, Luz Orfila, Dany Saligaut, Brice Martin, et al.. Intermittent reloading does not prevent iron availability decrease and hepcidin upregulation caused by hindlimb unloading. Experimental Physiology, Wiley-Blackwell, 2020, ⟨10.1113/EP088339⟩. ⟨hal-02563464⟩

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