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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2001 Jan 26;280(3):664-74.

Effects of troglitazone on cellular differentiation, insulin signaling, and glucose metabolism in cultured human skeletal muscle cells.

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Department of Endocrinology, Metabolism, and Pathobiochemistry, Eberhard-Karls-Universität, Tübingen, Germany.


To determine the immediate effect of thiazolidinediones on human skeletal muscle, differentiated human myotubes were acutely (1 day) and myoblasts chronically (during the differentiation process) treated with troglitazone (TGZ). Chronic TGZ treatment resulted in loss of the typical multinucleated phenotype. The increase of muscle markers typically observed during differentiation was suppressed, while adipocyte markers increased markedly. Chronic TGZ treatment increased insulin-stimulated phosphatidylinositol (PI) 3-kinase activity and membranous protein kinase B/Akt (PKB/Akt) Ser-473 phosphorylation more than 4-fold. Phosphorylation of p42/44 mitogen-activated protein kinase (42/44 MAPK/ERK) was unaltered. Basal glucose uptake as well as both basal and insulin-stimulated glycogen synthesis increased approximately 1.6- and approximately 2.5-fold after chronic TGZ treatment, respectively. A 2-fold stimulation of PI 3-kinase but no other significant TGZ effect was found after acute TGZ treatment. In conclusion, chronic TGZ treatment inhibited myogenic differentiation of that human muscle while inducing adipocyte-specific gene expression. The effects of chronic TGZ treatment on basal glucose transport may in part be secondary to this transdifferentiation. The enhancing effect on PI 3-kinase and PKB/Akt involved in both differentiation and glycogen synthesis appears to be pivotal in the cellular action of TGZ.

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