The growth hormone/insulin-like growth factor-I (GH/IGF-I) axis is an important stimulator of collagen synthesis in connective tissue, but the effect of chronically altered GH/IGF-I levels on connective tissue of the muscle-tendon unit is not known. We studied three groups of mice; 1) giant transgenic mice that expressed bovine GH (bGH) and had high circulating levels of GH and IGF-I, 2) dwarf mice with a disrupted GH receptor gene (GHR-/-) leading to GH resistance and low circulating IGF-I, and 3) a wild-type control group (CTRL). We measured the ultra-structure, collagen content and mRNA expression (targets: GAPDH, RPLP0, IGF-IEa, IGF-IR, COL1A1, COL3A1, TGF-β1, TGF-β2, TGF-β3, versican, scleraxis, tenascin C, fibronectin, fibromodulin, decorin) in the Achilles tendon, and the mRNA expression was also measured in calf muscle (same targets as tendon plus IGF-IEb, IGF-IEc). We found that GHR-/- mice had significantly lower collagen fibril volume fraction in Achilles tendon, as well as decreased mRNA expression of IGF-I isoforms and collagen types I and III in muscle compared to CTRL. In contrast, the mRNA expression of IGF-I isoforms and collagens in bGH mice was generally high in both tendon and muscle compared to CTRL. Mean collagen fibril diameter was significantly decreased with both high and low GH/IGF-I signaling, but the GHR-/- mouse tendons were most severely affected with a total loss of the normal bimodal diameter distribution. In conclusion, chronic manipulation of the GH/IGF-I axis influenced both morphology and mRNA levels of selected genes in the muscle-tendon unit of mice. Whereas only moderate structural changes were observed with up-regulation of GH/IGF-I axis, disruption of the GH receptor had pronounced effects upon tendon ultra-structure.
Matrix Biology, 2014, Vol 34, p. 96-104
Animals; Cattle; Collagen Type I; Connective Tissue; Growth Hormone; Insulin-Like Growth Factor I; Mice; Mice, Transgenic; Muscle, Skeletal; Protein Biosynthesis; RNA, Messenger; Tendons; Journal Article; Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't