Denervation leads to muscle atrophy, which is described as muscle mass and force loss, the latter exceeding expectation from mass loss. The objective of this study was to determine the efficiency of angiotensin (Ang) 1–7 at reducing muscle atrophy in mouse extensor digitorum longus (EDL) and soleus following 14- and 28-d denervation periods. Some denervated mice were treated with Ang 1–7 or diminazene aceturate (DIZE), an ACE2 activator, to increase Ang 1–7 levels. Ang 1–7/DIZE treatment had little effect on muscle mass loss and fiber cross-sectional area reduction. Ang 1–7 and DIZE fully prevented the loss of tetanic force normalized to cross-sectional area and accentuated the increase in twitch force in denervated muscle. However, they did not prevent the shift of the force–frequency relationship toward lower stimulation frequencies. The Ang 1–7/DIZE effects on twitch and tetanic force were completely blocked by A779, a MasR antagonist, and were not observed in MasR−/− muscles. Ang 1–7 reduced the extent of membrane depolarization, fully prevented the loss of membrane excitability, and maintained the action potential overshoot in denervated muscles. Ang 1–7 had no effect on the changes in α-actin, myosin, or MuRF-1, atrogin-1 protein content or the content of total or phosphorylated Akt, S6, and 4EPB. This is the first study that provides evidence that Ang 1–7 maintains normal muscle function in terms of maximum force and membrane excitability during 14- and 28-d periods after denervation.

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