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Differential Expression Of Lipid And Carbohydrate Metabolism Genes In Upper Airway Versus Diaphragm Muscle.

E. van Lunteren, Sarah Spiegler, M. Moyer
Published 2010 · Biology, Medicine

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STUDY OBJECTIVES Contractile properties of upper airway muscles influence upper airway patency, an issue of particular importance for subjects with obstructive sleep apnea. Expression of genes related to cellular energetics is, in turn, critical for the maintenance of contractile integrity over time during repetitive activation. We tested the hypothesis that sternohyoid has lower expression of genes related to lipid and carbohydrate energetic pathways than the diaphragm. METHODS Sternohyoid and diaphragm from normal adult rats were examined with gene expression arrays. Analysis focused on genes belonging to Gene Ontology (GO) groups carbohydrate metabolism and lipid metabolism. RESULTS There were 433 genes with at least +/- 2-fold significant differential expression between sternohyoid and diaphragm, of which 192 had sternohyoid > diaphragm and 241 had diaphragm > sternohyoid expression. Among genes with higher sternohyoid expression, there was over-representation of the GO group carbohydrate metabolism (P = 0.0053, n = 13 genes, range of differential expression 2.1- to 6.2-fold) but not lipid metabolism (P = 0.44). Conversely, among genes with higher diaphragm expression, there was over-representation of the GO group lipid metabolism (P = 0.0000065, n = 32 genes, range of differential expression 2.0- to 37.9-fold) but not carbohydrate metabolism (P = 0.23). Nineteen genes with diaphragm > sternohyoid expression were related to fatty acid metabolism (P = 0.000000058), in particular fatty acid beta oxidation and biosynthesis in the mitochondria. CONCLUSIONS Sternohyoid has much lower gene expression than diaphragm for mitochondrial enzymes that participate in fatty acid oxidation and biosynthesis. This likely contributes to the lower fatigue resistance of pharyngeal upper airway muscles compared with the diaphragm.
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