Zinc promotes proliferation and activation of myogenic cells via the PI3K/Akt and ERK signaling cascade

Kazuya Ohashi, Yosuke Nagata, Eiji Wada, Peter S. Zammit, Masataka Shiozuka, Ryoichi Matsuda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Citations (Scopus)


Skeletal muscle stem cells named muscle satellite cells are normally quiescent but are activated in response to various stimuli, such as injury and overload. Activated satellite cells enter the cell cycle and proliferate to produce a large number of myogenic progenitor cells, and these cells then differentiate and fuse to form myofibers.Zinc is one of the essential elements in the human body, and has multiple roles, including cell growth and DNA synthesis. However, the role of zinc in myogenic cells is not well understood, and is the focus of this study. We first examined the effects of zinc on differentiation of murine C2C12 myoblasts and found that zinc promoted proliferation, with an increased number of cells incorporating EdU, but inhibited differentiation with reduced myogenin expression and myotube formation. Furthermore, we used the C2C12 reserve cell model of myogenic quiescence to investigate the role of zinc on activation of myogenic cells. The number of reserve cells incorporating BrdU was increased by zinc in a dose dependent manner, with the number dramatically further increased using a combination of zinc and insulin. Akt and extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) are downstream of insulin signaling, and both were phosphorylated after zinc treatment. The zinc/insulin combination-induced activation involved the phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt and ERK cascade. We conclude that zinc promotes activation and proliferation of myogenic cells, and this activation requires phosphorylation of PI3K/Akt and ERK as part of the signaling cascade.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)228-237
Number of pages10
JournalExperimental Cell Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cell Biology


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