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The ubiquitin-proteasome system plays an important role in regulating muscle mass. Inducible immunoproteasome subunits LMP-2 and LMP-7 are constitutively expressed in the heart; however, their regulation and functions are poorly understood. We here investigated the hypothesis that immunoproteasomes regulate cardiac muscle mass in diabetic mice. Type 1 diabetes was induced in wildtype mice by streptozotocin. After hyperglycemia developed, insulin and the proteasome inhibitor epoxomicin were used to treat diabetic mice for 6weeks. Isolated mouse hearts were perfused with control or high glucose solution. Catalytic proteasome beta-subunits and proteolytic activities were analyzed in the heart by immunoblotting and fluorogenic peptide degradation assays, respectively. Insulin and epoxomicin blocked loss of heart weight and improved cardiac function in diabetic mice. LMP-7 and its corresponding chymotryptic-like proteasome activity were increased in diabetic hearts and high glucose-treated hearts. Myosin heavy chain protein was decreased in diabetic hearts, which was largely reversed by epoxomicin. High glucose decreased LMP-2 protein levels in perfused hearts. In diabetic hearts, LMP-2 expression was downregulated whereas expression of the phosphatase and tensin homologue deleted on chromosome ten (PTEN) and the muscle atrophy F-box were upregulated. Moreover, mice with muscle-specific knockout of PTEN gene demonstrated increased cardiac muscle mass, while mice with LMP-2 deficiency demonstrated PTEN accumulation, muscle mass loss, and contractile impairment in the heart. Therefore, we concluded that high glucose regulates immunoproteasome subunits and modifies proteasome activities in the heart, and that dysregulated immunoproteasome subunits may mediate loss of cardiac muscle mass in experimental diabetic mice.
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