Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences

, Volume 69, Issue 10, pp 1651–1667

Androgens and skeletal muscle: cellular and molecular action mechanisms underlying the anabolic actions

  • Vanessa Dubois
  • Michaël Laurent
  • Steven Boonen
  • Dirk Vanderschueren
  • Frank Claessens
Review

Abstract

Androgens increase both the size and strength of skeletal muscle via diverse mechanisms. The aim of this review is to discuss the different cellular targets of androgens in skeletal muscle as well as the respective androgen actions in these cells leading to changes in proliferation, myogenic differentiation, and protein metabolism. Androgens bind and activate a specific nuclear receptor which will directly affect the transcription of target genes. These genes encode muscle-specific transcription factors, enzymes, structural proteins, as well as microRNAs. In addition, anabolic action of androgens is partly established through crosstalk with other signaling molecules such as Akt, myostatin, IGF-I, and Notch. Finally, androgens may also exert non-genomic effects in muscle by increasing Ca2+ uptake and modulating kinase activities. In conclusion, the anabolic effect of androgens on skeletal muscle is not only explained by activation of the myocyte androgen receptor but is also the combined result of many genomic and non-genomic actions.

Keywords

Androgens Androgen receptor Skeletal muscle Satellite cells Myostatin IGF-I Non-genomic signaling 

Abbreviations

AIS

Androgen insensitivity syndrome

ALP

Alkaline phosphatase

AMPK

Adenosine monophosphate-activated kinase

AR

Androgen receptor

ARE

Androgen response element

ARKO

Androgen receptor knockout

BC

Bulbocavernosus

BSA

Bovine serum albumin

c-Src

Cellular sarcoma

EDL

Extensor digitorum logus

EGFR

Epidermal growth factor receptor

ERK

Extracellular signal-regulated kinase

FoxO

Forkhead box O

Fst

Follistatin

GH

Growth hormone

GPCR

G-protein coupled receptor

IGFBP

IGF binding protein

IGF-I

Insulin-like growth factor I

IGF-IR

IGF-I receptor

IP3

Inositol 1,4,5-triphosphate

JNK

c-Jun NH2-terminal kinase

LA

Levator ani

MADS

Mcm1 agamous deficiens serum response factor

MAFbx

Muscle Atrophy F-box

MAPK

Mitogen-activated protein kinase

mARKO

Myocyte-specific AR knockout

Mef

Myocyte enhancer factor

MGF

Mechanogrowth factor

miR

microRNA

mRNA

Messenger RNA

Mst

Myostatin

mTOR

Mammalian target of rapamycin

MuRF-1

Muscle Ring Finger 1

PI3K

Phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase

PKA

Protein kinase A

SARM

Selective AR modulator

SHBG

Sex hormone-binding globulin

SHBGR

SHBG receptor

SRC

Steroid receptor coactivator

SRE

Serum response element

SRF

Serum response factor

TCF

T cell factor

TGF-β

Transforming growth factor-β

WRE

Wnt response element

SRE

Serum response element

SARM

Selective AR modulator

Copyright information

© Springer Basel AG 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vanessa Dubois
    • 1
  • Michaël Laurent
    • 2
  • Steven Boonen
    • 2
  • Dirk Vanderschueren
    • 3
  • Frank Claessens
    • 1
  1. 1.Molecular Endocrinology Laboratory, Department of Molecular Cell BiologyK.U. LeuvenLeuvenBelgium
  2. 2.Division of Gerontology and Geriatrics, Department of Experimental MedicineK.U. LeuvenLeuvenBelgium
  3. 3.Division of Experimental Medicine and EndocrinologyK.U. LeuvenLeuvenBelgium

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