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J Cell Physiol. 2001 Jan;186(1):82-94.

Insulin produces myogenesis in C2C12 myoblasts by induction of NF-kappaB and downregulation of AP-1 activities.

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Departamento de Bioquimica y Biologia Molecular, Facultad de Farmacia, Universidad Complutense, Madrid, Spain.


In the present study, we have examined the insulin-signaling pathways involved in myogenesis in mouse C2C12 skeletal muscle cell line, a cellular system that expresses high number of high affinity insulin receptors. Insulin (50 nM) rapidly (5 min) stimulated beta-chain insulin receptor, activated the phosphatidylinositol (PI) 3-kinase/Akt/p70S6-kinase signaling pathway, as well as phosphorylated both p44/p42- and p38-mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs). Preconfluent cells were differentiated in a serum-free medium in response to 50 nM insulin for 72 h, as revealed by the formation of multinucleated myotubes and the induction of the creatine kinase activity. This differentiation process was also monitored by the inhibition of the PCNA content and induction of the cell cycle inhibitor p21. Furthermore, insulin induced nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kappaB) DNA binding activity and down-regulated activating protein-1 (AP-1) DNA binding activity throughout the differentiation process. The use of specific inhibitors of the insulin-signaling pathways indicated that myogenesis was precluded by treatment for 72 h with LY294002 (an inhibitor of PI 3-kinase), rapamycin (a p70S6-kinase blocker), and SB203580 or PD169316 (p38-MAPK inhibitors). These inhibitors abolished insulin induction of NF-kappaB DNA binding activity and kappaB-chloramphenicol acetyltransferase (CAT) promoter activity, maintaining expressed cytosolic IkappaB-alpha protein, and increased AP-1 DNA binding activity and TRE-CAT promoter activity. These data suggest that insulin induces myogenesis in C2C12 through PI 3-kinase/ p70S6-kinase and p38-MAPK pathways, the signaling through p44/p42-MAPK being inhibited.

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