Journal of molecular endocrinology

Actions of 1,25(OH)2-vitamin D3 on the cellular cycle depend on VDR and p38 MAPK in skeletal muscle cells.

PMID 25316911


Previously, we have reported that 1,25(OH)2-vitamin D3 (1,25D) activates p38 MAPK (p38) in a vitamin D receptor (VDR)-dependent manner in proliferative C2C12 myoblast cells. It was also demonstrated that 1,25D promotes muscle cell proliferation and differentiation. However, we did not study these hormone actions in depth. In this study we have investigated whether the VDR and p38 participate in the signaling mechanism triggered by 1,25D. In C2C12 cells, the VDR was knocked down by a shRNA, and p38 was specifically inhibited using SB-203580. Results from cell cycle studies indicated that hormone stimulation prompts a peak of S-phase followed by an arrest in the G0/G1-phase, events which were dependent on VDR and p38. Moreover, 1,25D increases the expression of cyclin D3 and the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitors, p21(Waf1/Cip1) and p27(Kip1), while cyclin D1 protein levels did not change during G0/G1 arrest. In all these events, p38 and VDR were required. At the same time, a 1,25D-dependent acute increase in myogenin expression was observed, indicating that the G0/G1 arrest of cells is a pro-differentiative event. Immunocytochemical assays revealed co-localization of VDR and cyclin D3, promoted by 1,25D in a p38-dependent manner. When cyclin D3 expression was silenced, VDR and myogenin levels were downregulated, indicating that cyclin D3 was required for 1,25D-induced VDR expression and the concomitant entrance into the differentiation process. In conclusion, the VDR and p38 are involved in control of the cellular cycle by 1,25D in skeletal muscle cells, providing key information on the mechanisms underlying hormone regulation of myogenesis.