BAG3 (Bcl-2-Associated Athanogene-3) coding variant in mice determines susceptibility to ischemic limb muscle myopathy by directing autophagy

Joseph M. McClung, Timothy J. McCord, Terence E. Ryan, Cameron A. Schmidt, Tom D. Green, Kevin W. Southerland, Jessica L. Reinardy, Sarah B. Mueller, Talaignair N. Venkatraman, Christopher D. Lascola, Sehoon Keum, Douglas A. Marchuk, Espen E. Spangenburg, Ayotunde Dokun, Brian H. Annex, Christopher D. Kontos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Critical limb ischemia is a manifestation of peripheral artery disease that carries significant mortality and morbidity risk in humans, although its genetic determinants remain largely unknown. We previously discovered 2 overlapping quantitative trait loci in mice, Lsq-1 and Civq-1, that affected limb muscle survival and stroke volume after femoral artery or middle cerebral artery ligation, respectively. Here, we report that a Bag3 variant (Ile81Met) segregates with tissue protection from hind-limb ischemia. METHODS: We treated mice with either adeno-associated viruses encoding a control (green fluorescent protein) or 2 BAG3 (Bcl-2- associated athanogene-3) variants, namely Met81 or Ile81, and subjected the mice to hind-limb ischemia. RESULTS: We found that the BAG3 Ile81Met variant in the C57BL/6 (BL6) mouse background segregates with protection from tissue necrosis in a shorter congenic fragment of Lsq-1 (C.B6-Lsq1-3). BALB/c mice treated with adeno-associated virus encoding the BL6 BAG3 variant (Ile81; n=25) displayed reduced limb-tissue necrosis and increased limb tissue perfusion compared with Met81- (n=25) or green fluorescent protein- (n=29) expressing animals. BAG3Ile81, but not BAG3Met81, improved ischemic muscle myopathy and muscle precursor cell differentiation and improved muscle regeneration in a separate, toxin-induced model of injury. Systemic injection of adeno-associated virus-BAG3Ile81 (n=9), but not BAG3Met81 (n=10) or green fluorescent protein (n=5), improved ischemic limb blood flow and limb muscle histology and restored muscle function (force production). Compared with BAG3Met81, BAG3Ile81 displayed improved binding to the small heat shock protein (HspB8) in ischemic skeletal muscle cells and enhanced ischemic muscle autophagic flux. CONCLUSIONS: Taken together, our data demonstrate that genetic variation in BAG3 plays an important role in the prevention of ischemic tissue necrosis. These results highlight a pathway that preserves tissue survival and muscle function in the setting of ischemia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)281-296
Number of pages16
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 18 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • autophagy
  • genetic variation
  • ischemia
  • muscle skeletal
  • peripheral arterial disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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