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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Muscle cachexia is regulated by a p53-PW1/ Peg3-dependent pathway.

Muscle wasting (cachexia) is an incurable complication associated with chronic infection and cancers that leads to an overall poor prognosis for recovery. Tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNFalpha) is a key inflammatory cytokine associated with cachexia. TNFalpha inhibits myogenic differentiation and skeletal muscle regeneration through downstream effectors of the p53 cell death pathway including PW1/ Peg3, bax, and caspases. We report that p53 is required for the TNFalpha-mediated inhibition of myogenesis in vitro and contributes to muscle wasting in response to tumor load in vivo. We further demonstrate that PW1 and p53 participate in a positive feedback regulatory loop in vitro. Consistent with this observation, we find that the number of PW1-expressing stem cells in skeletal muscle declines significantly in p53 nullizygous mice. Furthermore, gene transfer of a dominant-negative form of PW1 into muscle tissue in vivo blocks myofiber atrophy in response to tumor load. Taken together, these results show a novel role for p53 in mediating muscle stem cell behavior and muscle atrophy, and point to new targets for the therapeutic treatment of muscle wasting.[1]


  1. Muscle cachexia is regulated by a p53-PW1/Peg3-dependent pathway. Schwarzkopf, M., Coletti, D., Sassoon, D., Marazzi, G. Genes Dev. (2006) [Pubmed]
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