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Cell Death Dis. 2016 Feb 25;7:e2109. doi: 10.1038/cddis.2016.4.

CCAAT/enhancer binding protein beta protects muscle satellite cells from apoptosis after injury and in cancer cachexia.

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Graduate Program in Cellular and Molecular Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.


CCAAT/enhancer binding protein beta (C/EBPβ), a transcription factor expressed in muscle satellite cells (SCs), inhibits the myogenic program and is downregulated early in differentiation. In a conditional null model in which C/EBPβ expression is knocked down in paired box protein 7+ (Pax7+) SCs, cardiotoxin (CTX) injury is poorly repaired, although muscle regeneration is efficient in control littermates. While myoblasts lacking C/EBPβ can differentiate efficiently in culture, after CTX injury poor regeneration was attributed to a smaller than normal Pax7+ population, which was not due to a failure of SCs to proliferate. Rather, the percentage of apoptotic SCs was increased in muscle lacking C/EBPβ. Given that an injury induced by BaCl2 is repaired with greater efficiency than controls in the absence of C/EBPβ, we investigated the inflammatory response following BaCl2 and CTX injury and found that the levels of interleukin-1β (IL-1β), a proinflammatory cytokine, were robustly elevated following CTX injury and could induce C/EBPβ expression in myoblasts. High levels of C/EBPβ expression in myoblasts correlated with resistance to apoptotic stimuli, while its loss increased sensitivity to thapsigargin-induced cell death. Using cancer cachexia as a model for chronic inflammation, we found that C/EBPβ expression was increased in SCs and myoblasts of tumor-bearing cachectic animals. Further, in cachectic conditional knockout animals lacking C/EBPβ in Pax7+ cells, the SC compartment was reduced because of increased apoptosis, and regeneration was impaired. Our findings indicate that the stimulation of C/EBPβ expression by IL-1β following muscle injury and in cancer cachexia acts to promote SC survival, and is therefore a protective mechanism for SCs and myoblasts in the face of inflammation.

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