Generation and analysis of an androgen-responsive myoblast cell line indicates that androgens regulate myotube protein accretion
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- Chen, Y., Lee, N.K.L., Zajac, J.D. et al. J Endocrinol Invest (2008) 31: 910. doi:10.1007/BF03346441
Androgens have anabolic actions in skeletal muscle and could potentially act to: (a) increase proliferation of myoblasts; (b) delay differentiation to myotubes; and (c) induce protein accretion in post-proliferative myofibers. To identify the site of androgens action, we investigated the proliferative response of the C2C12 mouse myoblast cell line to testosterone and dihydrotestosterone (DHT) treatment. Neither androgens affected cell proliferation after up to 7 days treatment, nor was there a synergistic effect of androgens on the proliferative response of C2C12 cells to IGF-I treatment. However, proliferating C2C12 cells expressed 0.1% of the level of androgen receptor (AR) mRNA found in adult mouse gastrocnemius muscle (p<0.01). Therefore, we generated mouse C2C12 myoblast cell lines stably transfected with the mouse AR cDNA driven by the SV40 promoter (C2C12-AR). C2C12-AR cell proliferation, differentiation, and protein content were analyzed in response to androgen treatment. Our data demonstrated that androgen treatment does not alter either proliferation rate or differentiation rate of C2C12-AR cells. However, treatment of differentiated C2C12-AR myotubes with 100 nM DHT for 3 days caused a 20% increase in total protein content vs vehicle treatment (p<0.05). This effect was not observed in control C2C12 cells transfected with empty vector. These data suggest that androgens act via the AR to upregulate myotube protein content. This model cell line will be useful to further investigate the molecular mechanisms via which androgens regulate protein accretion.