Hypoxemia may contribute to muscle wasting in conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Muscle wasting develops when muscle proteolysis exceeds protein synthesis. Hypoxia induces skeletal muscle atrophy in mice, which can in part be attributed to reduced food intake. We hypothesized that hypoxia elevates circulating corticosterone concentrations by reduced food intake and enhances glucocorticoid receptor (GR) signaling in muscle, which causes elevated protein degradation signaling and dysregulates protein synthesis signaling during hypoxia-induced muscle atrophy. Muscle-specific GR knockout and control mice were subjected to normoxia, normobaric hypoxia (8% oxygen), or pair-feeding to the hypoxia group for 4 days. Plasma corticosterone and muscle GR signaling increased after hypoxia and pair-feeding. GR deficiency prevented muscle atrophy by pair-feeding but not by hypoxia. GR deficiency differentially affected activation of ubiquitin 26S-proteasome and autophagy proteolytic systems by pair-feeding and hypoxia. Reduced food intake suppressed mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) activity under normoxic but not hypoxic conditions, and this retained mTORC1 activity was mediated by GR. We conclude that GR signaling is required for muscle atrophy and increased expression of proteolysis-associated genes induced by decreased food intake under normoxic conditions. Under hypoxic conditions, muscle atrophy and elevated gene expression of the ubiquitin proteasomal system-associated E3 ligases Murf1 and Atrogin-1 are mostly independent of GR signaling. Furthermore, impaired inhibition of mTORC1 activity is GR-dependent in hypoxia-induced muscle atrophy.
Calorie restriction, without malnutrition, has been shown to increase lifespan and is associated with a shift away from glycolysis toward beta-oxidation. The objective of this study was to mimic this metabolic shift using low-carbohydrate diets and to determine the influence of these diets on longevity and healthspan in mice. C57BL/6 mice were assigned to a ketogenic, low-carbohydrate, or control diet at 12 months of age and were either allowed to live their natural lifespan or tested for physiological function after 1 or 14 months of dietary intervention. The ketogenic diet (KD) significantly increased median lifespan and survival compared to controls. In aged mice, only those consuming a KD displayed preservation of physiological function. The KD increased protein acetylation levels and regulated mTORC1 signaling in a tissue-dependent manner. This study demonstrates that a KD extends longevity and healthspan in mice.