Open Access

Treatment with TNF-α and IFN-γ alters the activation of SER/THR protein kinases and the metabolic response to IGF-I in mouse c2c12 myogenic cells

  • Katarzyna Grzelkowska-Kowalczyk1Email author and
  • Wioletta Wieteska-Skrzeczyńska1
Cellular & Molecular Biology LettersAn International Journal200915:13

DOI: 10.2478/s11658-009-0033-1

Received: 26 March 2009

Accepted: 6 August 2009

Published: 14 August 2009


The aim of this study was to compare the effects of TNF-α, IL-1β and IFN-γ on the activation of protein kinase B (PKB), p70S6k, mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) and p90 rsk , and on IGF-I-stimulated glucose uptake and protein synthesis in mouse C2C12 myotubes. 100 nmol/l IGF-I stimulated glucose uptake in C2C12 myotubes by 198.1% and 10 ng/ml TNF-α abolished this effect. Glucose uptake in cells differentiated in the presence of 10 ng/ml IFN-γ increased by 167.2% but did not undergo significant further modification upon the addition of IGF-I. IGF-I increased the rate of protein synthesis by 249.8%. Neither TNF-α nor IFN-γ influenced basal protein synthesis, but both cytokines prevented the IGF-I effect. 10 ng/ml IL-1β did not modify either the basal or IGF-I-dependent glucose uptake and protein synthesis. With the exception of TNF-α causing an 18% decrease in the level of PKB protein, the cellular levels of PKB, p70S6k, p42MAPK, p44MAPK and p90 rsk were not affected by the cytokines. IGF-I caused the phosphorylation of PKB (an approximate 8-fold increase above the basal value after 40 min of IGF-I treatment), p42MAPK (a 2.81-fold increase after 50 min), and the activation of p70S6k and p90 rsk , manifesting as gel mobility retardation. In cells differentiated in the presence of TNF-α or IFN-γ, this IGF-I-mediated PKB and p70S6k phosphorylation was significantly diminished, and the increase in p42MAPK and p90 rsk phosphorylation was prevented. The basal p42MAPK phosphorylation in C2C12 cells treated with IFN-γ was high and comparable with the activation of this kinase by IGF-I. Pretreatment of myogenic cells with IL-1β did not modify the IGF-I-stimulated phosphorylation of PKB, p70S6k, p42MAPK and p90 rsk . In conclusion: i) TNF-α and IFN-γ, but not IL-1β, if present in the extracellular environment during C2C12 myoblast differentiation, prevent the stimulatory action of IGF-I on protein synthesis. ii) TNF-α- and IFN-γ-induced IGF-I resistance of protein synthesis could be associated with the decreased phosphorylation of PKB and p70S6k. iii) The activation of glucose uptake in C2C12 myogenic cells treated with IFN-γ is PKB independent. iv) The similar effects of TNF-α and IFN-γ on the signalling and action of IGF-I on protein synthesis in myogenic cells could suggest the involvement of both of these cytokines in protein loss in skeletal muscle.

Key words

Cytokines Glucose transport IGF-I resistance Protein synthesis Signalling pathways