AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) regulates metabolism in skeletal muscle and myostatin (MSTN) negatively regulates skeletal muscle development and growth. In the present study, AMPK activation and the relationship between AMPK and MSTN during myogenic differentiation were investigated in cultures derived from bovine skeletal muscle. Myoblasts capable of forming myotubes were obtained from bovine skeletal muscle and treated with AICAR to activate AMPK, resulting in suppressed myotube formation. AICAR treatment significantly reduced the expression of MSTN mRNA during myogenic differentiation. Combined treatment with AICAR and MSTN suppressed myotube formation to a greater extent than AICAR alone. SB431542, an inhibitor of MSTN signaling, promoted myotube formation during myogenic differentiation. However, simultaneous treatment with AICAR blocked this effect of SB431542. Therefore, AMPK activation inhibits myogenic differentiation but may suppress MSTN expression to balance muscle development.
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