American journal of physiology. Endocrinology and metabolism

Contractile C2C12 myotube model for studying exercise-inducible responses in skeletal muscle.

PMID 18780777


Adequate exercise leads to a vast variety of physiological changes in skeletal muscle as well as other tissues/organs and is also responsible for maintaining healthy muscle displaying enhanced insulin-responsive glucose uptake via GLUT4 translocation. We generated highly developed contractile C(2)C(12) myotubes by manipulating intracellular Ca(2+) transients with electric pulse stimulation (EPS) that is endowed with properties similar to those of in vivo skeletal muscle in terms of 1) excitation-induced contractile activity as a result of de novo sarcomere formation, 2) activation of both the AMP kinase and stress-activated MAP kinase cascades, and 3) improved insulin responsiveness as assessed by GLUT4 recycling. Tbc1d1, a Rab-GAP implicated in exercise-induced GLUT4 translocation in skeletal muscle, also appeared to be phosphorylated on Ser(231) after EPS-induced contraction. In addition, a switch in myosin heavy-chain (MHC) expression from "fast type" to "slow type" was observed in the C(2)C(12) myotubes endowed with EPS-induced repetitive contractility. Taking advantage of these highly developed contractile C(2)C(12) myotubes, we identified myotube-derived factors responsive to EPS-evoked contraction, including the CXC chemokines CXCL1/KC and CXCL5/LIX, as well as IL-6, previously reported to be upregulated in contracting muscles in vivo. Importantly, animal treadmill experiments revealed that exercise significantly increased systemic levels of CXCL1/KC, perhaps derived from contracting muscle. Taken together, these results confirm that we have established a specialized muscle cell culture model allowing contraction-inducible cellular responses to be explored. Utilizing this model, we identified contraction-inducible myokines potentially linked to the metabolic alterations, immune responses, and angiogenesis induced by exercise.