C2C12 murine myoblasts as a model of skeletal muscle development: morpho-functional characterization

Eur J Histochem. Jul-Sep 2004;48(3):223-33.


In this study, the differentiation of C2C12 cells, a primary line of murine myoblasts, was investigated by a multiple technical approach. Undifferentiated cells, and those at intermediate and final differentiation times, were studied at the reverted microscope, by conventional and confocal immunofluorescence, and by transmission and scanning electron microscopy. The general monolayer architecture changed during differentiation from fusiform or star-shaped cells to elongated confluent cells, finally originating long, multinucleated myotubes. Sarcomeric actin and myosin are present also in undifferentiated myoblasts, but progressively acquire a structured pattern up to the appearance of sarcomeres and myofibrils at about 5 days after differentiation induction. Myotubes show a particular positivity for actin and myosin, and M-cadherin, an adhesion molecule characteristic, as known, of satellite cells, also seems to be involved in their assembling. Rare apoptotic patterns, as evidenced by the TUNEL technique, appear during myoblast maturation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology
  • Cell Line
  • Mice
  • Muscle, Skeletal / cytology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / growth & development*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology
  • Myoblasts / cytology*
  • Myoblasts / physiology
  • Myoblasts / ultrastructure