Impaired hypertrophy in myoblasts is improved with testosterone administration

Colleen S. Deane, David C. Hughes, Nicholas Sculthorpe, Mark P. Lewis, Claire E. Stewart, Adam P. Sharples*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


We investigated the ability of testosterone (T) to restore differentiation in multiple population doubled (PD) murine myoblasts, previously shown to have a reduced differentiation in monolayer and bioengineered skeletal muscle cultures vs. their parental controls (CON) (Sharples et al., 2011, 2012 [7,26]). Cells were exposed to low serum conditions in the presence or absence of T (100 nM) ± PI3K inhibitor (LY294002) for 72 h and 7 days (early and late muscle differentiation respectively). Morphological analyses were performed to determine myotube number, diameter (μm) and myonuclear accretion as indices of differentiation and myotube hypertrophy. Changes in gene expression for myogenin, mTOR and myostatin were also performed. Myotube diameter in CON and PD cells increased from 17.32 ± 2.56 μm to 21.02 ± 1.89 μm and 14.58 ± 2.66 μm to 18.29 ± 3.08 μm (P ≤ 0.05) respectively after 72 h of T exposure. The increase was comparable in both PD (+25%) and CON cells (+21%) suggesting a similar intrinsic ability to respond to exogenous T administration. T treatment also significantly increased myonuclear accretion (% of myotubes expressing 5+ nuclei) in both cell types after 7 days exposure (P ≤ 0.05). Addition of PI3K inhibitor (LY294002) in the presence of T attenuated these effects in myotube morphology (in both cell types) suggesting a role for the PI3K pathway in T stimulated hypertrophy. Finally, PD myoblasts showed reduced responsiveness to T stimulated mRNA expression of mTOR vs. CON cells and T also reduced myostatin expression in PD myoblasts only. The present study demonstrates testosterone administration improves hypertrophy in myoblasts that basally display impaired differentiation and hypertrophic capacity vs. their parental controls, the action of testosterone in this model was mediated by PI3K/Akt pathway.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)152-161
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Early online date25 May 2013
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2013


  • Akt
  • mTOR
  • muscle stem cell
  • myostatin
  • PI3K
  • satellite cell


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