Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Molecular Mechanisms in Muscle Development and Function

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
3.03.00  Medical sciences  Neurobiology   

Code Science Field
B7   Biomedical sciences  B7  
B640  Biomedical sciences  Neurology, neuropsychology, neurophysiology 

Code Science Field
3.01  Medical and Health Sciences  Basic medicine 
skeletal muscle, mammals, plasticity, regeneration, ageing, myosin heavy chains, capillaries, satellite cells, myonuclei, neuromuscular junction, acetilcholinesterase mRNA, agrin,culture of human skeletal muscle, insulin resistence, RT-PCR, in situ hybridisation, muscle diseases
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (29)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  19627  Ksenija Babič Benedik    Technical associate  2013 - 2014 
2.  17930  Ivan Blažinovič    Technical associate  2009 - 2014 
3.  11903  PhD Martina Brank  Biotechnology  Researcher  2009  28 
4.  17908  PhD Janez Brecelj  Neurobiology  Researcher  2009 - 2014  116 
5.  10644  PhD Erika Cvetko  Neurobiology  Researcher  2009 - 2014  278 
6.  11785  PhD Vita Čebašek  Neurobiology  Researcher  2009 - 2014  66 
7.  21610  Majda Črnak-Maasarani    Technical associate  2009 - 2014 
8.  05329  PhD Ida Eržen  Neurobiology  Researcher  2009 - 2014  212 
9.  07089  Zvonka Frelih    Technical associate  2009 - 2014 
10.  29975  PhD Tomaž Goslar  Cardiovascular system  Researcher  2013 - 2014  96 
11.  35361  PhD Katarina Gros  Neurobiology  Junior researcher  2012 - 2014  120 
12.  04410  PhD Zoran Grubič  Neurobiology  Researcher  2009 - 2014  384 
13.  22403  PhD Marko Jevšek  Neurobiology  Researcher  2009 - 2014  117 
14.  16345  PhD Tomaž Marš  Neurobiology  Researcher  2009 - 2014  343 
15.  31530  PhD Urška Matkovič  Medical sciences  Researcher  2009 - 2014  71 
16.  06630  PhD Pika Meško Brguljan  Biochemistry and molecular biology  Researcher  2009 - 2014  344 
17.  04905  PhD Marija Meznarič  Neurobiology  Researcher  2009 - 2014  151 
18.  19318  PhD Katarina Miš  Neurobiology  Researcher  2009 - 2014  191 
19.  29470  PhD Katarina Pegan  Biochemistry and molecular biology  Junior researcher  2009 - 2010  44 
20.  28351  PhD Sergej Pirkmajer  Neurobiology  Researcher  2009 - 2014  442 
21.  21806  PhD Matej Podbregar  Cardiovascular system  Head  2011 - 2014  330 
22.  26057  Nataša Pollak    Technical associate  2009 - 2014 
23.  33623  Tatjana Praprotnik    Technical associate  2011 - 2014 
24.  24281  PhD Oja Prelovšek  Neurobiology  Researcher  2009 - 2014  16 
25.  28168  Polona Sajovic    Technical associate  2009 - 2010 
26.  17961  Marko Slak    Technical associate  2009 - 2014 
27.  10641  PhD Viktorija Smerdu  Neurobiology  Researcher  2009 - 2014  90 
28.  19215  Friderik Štendler    Technical associate  2009 - 2014 
29.  33551  Ferida Vučkić    Technical associate  2011 - 2014 
Organisations (3)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0312  University Medical Centre Ljubljana  Ljubljana  5057272000  75,485 
2.  0381  University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Medicine  Ljubljana  1627066  45,364 
3.  1613  University Clinic of Respiratory and Allergic Diseases  Golnik  1190997  7,132 
The program joins two research groups: 'Skeletal muscle: its structure and function'and 'Human muscle under the in vitro conditions'. The program proposed by group A is dealing with the morphological, morphometric and immunohistochemical analysis of normal and diseased muscles. It consists of three research directions: I. Morphological and histochemical characteristics of skeletal muscles: We shall continue investigating the morphology and the expression pattern of myosin heavy chain isoforms (MyHC) and their transcripts in skeletal muscles of bigger mammals. Human extraocular muscles will be analysed in different age periods to prove that human EOM do not age. Special emphasis will be given to the capillary density per muscle fibre. II. Molecular mechanisms underlying the acute myopathic changes, accompanying critical conditions. Recent investigations revealed active role of the skeletal muscle fibre in the signalling processes, triggered by different types of cytokines under the stress conditions like septic shock. In our preliminary studies we demonstrated release of IL-6 from the cultured human skeletal muscle fibre after the treatments with TNF-a. These investigation will be continued in this part of the program. III. Molecular mechanisms responsible for the insulin resistance in the human skeletal muscle fibre. Insulin resistance is the major cause of hyperglycemia in type 2 diabetics and is therefore intensively investigated. The experimental model of the in vitro innervated human muscle allows studies of the molecular mechanisms underlying insulin-induced exocytosis, which is impaired in the insulin-resistant muscle fibres. In collaboration with the research group at the Institute of Pathophysiology, which is fully equipped to follow the processes of exocytosis, we shall investigate molecular mechanisms underlying the insulin-induced translocation of the glucose transporters 4 (GLUT4) bearing vesicles to the II. Plasticity of skeletal muscle in physiological, experimental and pathological conditions Plasticity of skeletal muscles that has been thoroughly studied in our previous research will further be investigated either on experimental models, like heterochronous isotransplantation, heterotopic transplantation of the rat slow and fast muscles as well as axotonotomy and axonotmesis. Additionally, plasticity will be studied in human muscles in inactivity and in the critical illness myopathy. Special attention will be paid to the influence of the changed innervation, chorticosteroid and thyroid hormones on the expression of the myosin heavy chain isoforms and their transcripts as well as to the myogenic factors and to the changed capillary supply. A part of our research will be devoted to the investigation of the biophysical characteristics of normal and dystrophic muscles and to the morphometric analysis of the muscles in patients with the myotonic dystrophy III Epidemiology of the limb-girdle muscular dystrophy We shall continue to study the epidemiology of the 'limb-girdle dystrophy' in Slovenia. The research program proposed by group B is focused on the molecular mechanisms underlying various aspects of the development and function of the human skeletal muscle fibre. In most studies we will employ the in vitro system in which human muscle fibre is innervated by the motor neuron extending from the explant of the embryonic rat spinal cord. The main research directions will be the following: I. Molecular mechanism regulating synaptogenesis and function of the neuromuscular junction (NMJ) By "gene silencing" we will investigate the roles and expression of specific proteins participating in the formation and maintenance of the NMJ. This part of our research will be focused on agrin, AChE and BuChE, which are all important, basal lamina bound constituents of the NMJ. This part of our program includes continuation of our previous research on the structure - function relationship of the AC...
Significance for science
Understanding molecular mechanisms underlying functioning of the human organism under normal and pathologic conditions is one of the major research challenges in modern medicine. Our group followed this orientation in the field of muscle research and contributed new knowledge on the morphology, functioning, development, differentiation and plasticity of the skeletal muscle under the normal conditions and in selected diseased states. These investigations are especially relevant in the light of the fact that muscle pathology represents one of the most frequently met conditions in the clinical practice. Besides the characteristics of the muscle damage, the final outcome of muscle injury depends also on the extent of muscle regeneration which follows every muscle injury. Investigating the mechanisms underlying regeneration of the human muscle is essential for identifying the potential therapeutic targets at the treatment of muscle injuries. In our study we revvealed the mechanisms of hypoxic conditions on muscle regeneration. The study approaching muscles from patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease has provided knowledge on the systemic effect of this disease on the basis of the analysis of the changes in muscle composition. Consequently, these results will enable the improvement of the systemic therapy of these patients and their quality of life. Microscopic imaging of the muscle tissue is essential for the investigations of the muscle pathology, we therefore developed methods and systems for quantitative analyses of the digital images of the muscle tissue. These techniques will enable faster and more accurate detection of tissue changes.
Significance for the country
Our investigations contributed to the development of Slovenia in the following ways: - they contributed to the recognition of Slovenia in the international scientific community in the field of neurobiological research. This has been achieved by establishing contacts with the top laboratories in the world and by publishing our results in the peer reviewed international journals (see bibliography of the researchers of the group). - by participating in teaching and training of students at the highest levels of Slovenian education system: researches of the group participated in courses for graduate, and postgraduate students of medicine, pharmacy and other biological fields. Many of them, especially PhD students were directly included in our research. - by introducing and developing new approaches and techniques; some of them have been applied in the clinical practice in the diagnostics of neuromuscular diseases in Slovenia.
Audiovisual sources (1)
no. Title (with video link) Event Source
1. Molecular Mechanisms in Muscle Development and Function  Promotional video of research programme on Videolectures  Research programme video presentation 
Most important scientific results Annual report 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, final report, complete report on dLib.si
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Annual report 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, final report, complete report on dLib.si
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