Neuromuscular junctions are stable in patients with cancer cachexia.

07:00 EST 3rd December 2019 | BioPortfolio

Summary of "Neuromuscular junctions are stable in patients with cancer cachexia."

Cancer cachexia is a major cause of patient morbidity and mortality, with no efficacious treatment or management strategy. Despite sharing pathophysiological features with a number of neuromuscular wasting conditions, including age-related sarcopenia, the mechanisms underlying cachexia remain poorly understood. Studies of related conditions suggest that pathological targeting of the neuromuscular junction (NMJ) may play a key role in cachexia, but this has yet to be investigated in human patients. Here, high-resolution morphological analyses were undertaken on NMJs of rectus abdominis obtained from patients undergoing upper GI cancer surgery compared with controls (N=30; n=1,165 NMJs). Cancer patients included those with cachexia and weight-stable disease. Despite the low skeletal muscle index and significant muscle fibre atrophy in patients with cachexia, NMJ morphology was fully conserved. No significant differences were observed in any of the pre- and post-synaptic variables measured. We conclude that NMJs remain structurally intact in rectus abdominis in both cancer and cachexia, suggesting that denervation of skeletal muscle is not a major driver of pathogenesis. The absence of NMJ pathology is in stark contrast to related conditions, such as age-related sarcopenia, and supports the hypothesis that intrinsic changes within skeletal muscle, independent of any changes in motor neurons, represent the primary locus of neuromuscular pathology in cancer cachexia.


Journal Details

This article was published in the following journal.

Name: The Journal of clinical investigation
ISSN: 1558-8238


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Medical and Biotech [MESH] Definitions

A neurotransmitter. Acetylcholine in vertebrates is the major transmitter at neuromuscular junctions, autonomic ganglia, parasympathetic effector junctions, a subset of sympathetic effector junctions, and at many sites in the central nervous system. It is generally not used as an administered drug because it is broken down very rapidly by cholinesterases, but it is useful in some ophthalmological applications.

The use of peripheral nerve stimulation to assess transmission at the NEUROMUSCULAR JUNCTION, especially in the response to anesthetics, such as the intensity of NEUROMUSCULAR BLOCKADE by NEUROMUSCULAR BLOCKING AGENTS.

An internationally recognized set of published rules used for evaluation of cancer treatment that define when tumors found in cancer patients improve, worsen, or remain stable during treatment. These criteria are based specifically on the response of the tumor(s) to treatment, and not on the overall health status of the patient resulting from treatment.

Connections between cells which allow passage of small molecules and electric current. Gap junctions were first described anatomically as regions of close apposition between cells with a narrow (1-2 nm) gap between cell membranes. The variety in the properties of gap junctions is reflected in the number of CONNEXINS, the family of proteins which form the junctions.

An enzyme that catalyzes the hydrolysis of ACETYLCHOLINE to CHOLINE and acetate. In the CNS, this enzyme plays a role in the function of peripheral neuromuscular junctions. EC

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