Trenbolone enhances myogenic differentiation by enhancing β-catenin signaling in muscle-derived stem cells of cattle

Domest Anim Endocrinol. 2011 May;40(4):222-9. doi: 10.1016/j.domaniend.2011.01.004. Epub 2011 Feb 26.


Testosterone is a key hormone regulating animal growth and development, which promotes skeletal muscle growth and inhibits fat deposition; however, the underlying mechanisms remain poorly defined. Because canonical Wingless and Int/β-catenin signaling promotes myogenesis, we hypothesized that testosterone regulates myogenesis through enhancing the β-catenin signaling pathway and the expression of its targeted genes. Muscle-derived stem cells were prepared from the skeletal muscle of fetal calf at day 180 of gestation and treated with or without trenbolone (10 nM), a synthetic analog of testosterone, in a myogenic medium. Trenbolone treatment increased the protein levels of MyoD and myosin heavy chain, as well as the androgen receptor content. The myogenic effect of trenbolone was blocked by cyproterone acetate, a specific inhibitor of androgen receptor, showing that the myogenic effect of trenbolone was mediated by the androgen receptor. Immunoprecipitation showed that androgen receptor and β-catenin formed a complex, which was increased by trenbolone treatment. Trenbolone activated adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase, which might phosphorylate β-catenin at Ser552, stabilizing β-catenin. Indeed, both cytoplasmic and nuclear β-catenin levels were increased after trenbolone treatment. As a result, β-catenin-mediated transcriptional activity was enhanced by trenbolone treatment. In conclusion, these data provide evidence that testosterone increases cellular β-catenin content which promotes the expression of β-catenin-targeted genes and myogenesis in the muscle-derived stem cells of cattle.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • AMP-Activated Protein Kinases / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Cell Differentiation / drug effects
  • Cyproterone Acetate / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Fetal Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Male
  • Muscle Development / drug effects
  • Muscle, Skeletal / cytology*
  • Myoblasts / drug effects
  • Receptors, Androgen / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction*
  • Testosterone / analogs & derivatives*
  • Trenbolone Acetate / metabolism
  • Trenbolone Acetate / pharmacology*
  • beta Catenin / metabolism*


  • Receptors, Androgen
  • beta Catenin
  • Testosterone
  • Cyproterone Acetate
  • AMP-Activated Protein Kinases
  • Trenbolone Acetate