The mechanical environment plays an important role in musculoskeletal tissue development. The present study characterized changes in supraspinatus muscle due to removal of mechanical cues during postnatal development. An intramuscular injection of botulinum toxin type A (BTX) was used to induce and maintain paralysis in the left shoulders of mice since birth while the right shoulders received saline and served as contralateral controls. A separate group of animals was allowed to develop normally without any injections. Muscles were examined postnatally at various time points. The maximum isometric tetanic force generated by the muscle was significantly reduced in the BTX group compared to saline and normal groups. The paralyzed muscles were smaller and showed significant muscle atrophy and fat accumulation on histologic evaluation. Myogenic genes myogenin, myoD1, myf5, myf6, and fast type II myosin heavy chain (MHC) isoform were significantly upregulated while slow type I MHC isoform was significantly downregulated in the BTX group. Adipogenic genes C/EBPα, PPARγ2, leptin, and lipoprotein lipase were significantly upregulated in the BTX group. Results indicate that reduced muscle loading secondary to BTX-induced paralysis leads to fat accumulation and muscle degeneration in the developing muscle. Understanding the molecular and compositional changes in developing supraspinatus muscles may be useful for identifying and addressing the pathological changes that occur in shoulder injuries such as neonatal brachial plexus palsy.
- brachial plexus palsy
- rotator cuff