Exercise mimetics and JAK inhibition attenuate IFN-γ–induced wasting in engineered human skeletal muscle

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Science Advances  22 Jan 2021:
Vol. 7, no. 4, eabd9502
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abd9502


Chronic inflammatory diseases often lead to muscle wasting and contractile deficit. While exercise can have anti-inflammatory effects, the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. Here, we used an in vitro tissue-engineered model of human skeletal muscle (“myobundle”) to study effects of exercise-mimetic electrical stimulation (E-stim) on interferon-γ (IFN-γ)–induced muscle weakness. Chronic IFN-γ treatment of myobundles derived from multiple donors induced myofiber atrophy and contractile loss. E-stim altered the myobundle secretome, induced myofiber hypertrophy, and attenuated the IFN-γ–induced myobundle wasting and weakness, in part by down-regulating JAK (Janus kinase)/STAT1 (signal transducer and activator of transcription 1) signaling pathway amplified by IFN-γ. JAK/STAT inhibitors fully prevented IFN-γ–induced myopathy, confirming the critical roles of STAT1 activation in proinflammatory action of IFN-γ. Our results reveal a previously unknown mechanism of the cell-autonomous anti-inflammatory effects of muscle exercise and establish the utility of human myobundle platform for studies of inflammatory muscle disease and therapy.

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