Objective—To investigate the effects of exercise on activation of mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling proteins in horses.
Animals—6 young trained Standardbred geldings.
Procedure—Horses performed a 20-minute bout of exercise on a treadmill at 80% of maximal heart rate. Muscle biopsy specimens were obtained from the vastus lateralis and pectoralis descendens muscles before and after exercise. Amount of expression and intracellular location of phosphospecific MAPK pathway intermediates were determined by use of western blotting and immunofluorescence staining.
Results—Exercise resulted in a significant increase in phosphorylation of p38 pathway intermediates, c-Jun NH2 terminal kinase (JNK), and heat shock protein 27 (HSP27) in the vastus lateralis muscle, whereas no significant changes were found in phosphorylation of extracellular regulated kinase. In the pectoralis descendens muscle, phosphorylation of p38 and HSP27 was significantly increased after exercise. Immunohistochemical analysis revealed fiber-type– specific locations of phosphorylated JNK in type 2a/b intermediate and 2b fibers and phosphorylated p38 in type 1 fibers. Phosphorylated HSP27 was strongly increased after exercise in type 1 and 2a fibers.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—The p38 pathway and JNK are activated in the vastus lateralis muscle after a single 20-minute bout of submaximal exercise in trained horses. Phosphorylation of HSP27 as detected in the study reported here is most likely induced through the p38 signaling pathway.