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Domest Anim Endocrinol. 2007 Oct;33(3):269-80. Epub 2006 Jun 23.

Follistatin rescues the inhibitory effect of activin A on the differentiation of bovine preadipocyte.

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Division of Applied Biosciences, Graduate School of Agriculture, Kyoto University, Kitashirakawa-oiwake, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto-shi 606-8502, Japan.


We investigated the effect of activin A and follistatin on the differentiation of bovine preadipocytes. Stromal-vascular (SV) cells containing preadipocytes were prepared from perirenal adipose tissue of approximately 30-month-old Japanese Black steers. After confluence, differentiation was induced by 1-methyl-3-isobutyl-xanthine, dexamethasone, insulin and troglitasone for 2 days, and then subsequently cultured for 6 days. The cells were treated with activin A during the induction of differentiation (the early phase of differentiation) or throughout the differentiation period. We measured the terminal differentiation markers such as glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GPDH) activity, lipid accumulation, and the expression of adipocyte fatty acid-binding protein mRNA at the end of cultures. Activin A suppressed the induction of all differentiation markers regardless of the duration of treatment. The treatment with activin A also reduced the expression of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) gamma and CCAAT/enhancer binding protein (C/EBP) alpha mRNAs without affecting the expression of C/EBPbeta mRNA. We also observed that follistatin completely rescued the inhibitory effect of activin A on bovine preadipocyte differentiation. Furthermore, the higher doses of follistatin increased GPDH activity even in the presence of activin A compared with the cells treated with neither activin A nor follistatin. Additionally, the SV cells expressed activin A and myostatin mRNAs. These results suggest that activin A inhibits bovine preadiopocyte differentiation via affecting transcriptional cascade upstream of PPARgamma and C/EBPalpha expressions, and that follistatin suppresses the inhibitory effect of activin A on bovine preadipocyte differentiation. Endogenous activin A and/or myostatin possibly inhibit the differentiation of bovine preadipocytes.

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