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  • 1 University of Debrecen, Hungary
  • 2 University of Szeged, Hungary
  • 3 Kenézy Hospital and Outpatient Clinic, Hungary
  • 4 Kenézy Hospital and Outpatient Clinic, Hungary
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Atherosclerosis is a disease caused by a build-up of fatty plaques and cholesterol in the arteries. The lumen of the vessels is obliterated resulting in restricted blood supply to tissues. In ischemic conditions, the cytosolic Ca2+ level of skeletal muscle may increase, indicating the alteration of Ca2+ removal mechanisms. Ca2+ is transported from cytosol into the sarcoplasmic reticulum by Ca2+ ATPase (SERCA), with its 1a isoform expressed in adult, while its 1b isoform in neonatal and regenerating fast-twitch skeletal muscle. To investigate the role of these isoforms in ischemic skeletal muscle, biopsies from musculus biceps femoris of patients who underwent amputation due to atherosclerosis were examined. Samples were removed from the visibly healthy and hypoxia-affected tissue. Significantly increased SERCA1a expression was detected under the ischemic conditions (246 ± 69%; p < 0.05) compared with the healthy tissue. Furthermore, the ratio of SERCA1a-positive fibers was slightly increased (46 ± 4% in healthy tissue and 60 ± 5% in ischemic tissue; p > 0.05), whereas SERCA2a did not change. In addition, in primary cultures derived from hypoxia-affected tissue, the diameter and fusion index of myotubes were significantly increased (30 ± 1.6 µm vs. 41 ± 2.4 µm and 31 ± 4% vs. 45 ± 3%; p < 0.05). We propose that the increased SERCA1a expression indicates the existence and location of compensating mechanisms in ischemic muscle.

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