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J Tissue Eng Regen Med. 2014 May;8(5):396-406. doi: 10.1002/term.1533. Epub 2012 Jun 19.

Low-amplitude high frequency vibration down-regulates myostatin and atrogin-1 expression, two components of the atrophy pathway in muscle cells.

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  • 1Dipartimento di Medicina Sperimentale, University of Pavia, Italy; Centro di Ingegneria Tissutale, University of Pavia, Italy.


Whole body vibration (WBV) is a very widespread mechanical stimulus used in physical therapy, rehabilitation and fitness centres. It has been demonstrated that vibration induces improvements in muscular strength and performance and increases bone density. We investigated the effects of low-amplitude, high frequency vibration (HFV) at the cellular and tissue levels in muscle. We developed a system to produce vibrations adapted to test several parameters in vitro and in vivo. For in vivo experiments, we used newborn CD1 wild-type mice, for in vitro experiments, we isolated satellite cells from 6-day-old CD1 mice, while for proliferation studies, we used murine cell lines. Animals and cells were treated with high frequency vibration at 30 Hz. We analyzed the effects of mechanical stimulation on muscle hypertrophy/atrophy pathways, fusion enhancement of myoblast cells and modifications in the proliferation rate of cells. Results demonstrated that mechanical vibration strongly down-regulates atrophy genes both in vivo and in vitro. The in vitro experiments indicated that mechanical stimulation promotes fusion of satellite cells treated directly in culture compared to controls. Finally, proliferation experiments indicated that stimulated cells had a decreased growth rate compared to controls. We concluded that vibration treatment at 30 Hz is effective in suppressing the atrophy pathway both in vivo and in vitro and enhances fusion of satellite muscle cells.


cell fusion; high frequency vibration; hypertrophy/atrophy pathways; muscle tissue; satellite cells

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