Expression of CCAAT/Enhancer Binding Protein Beta in Muscle Satellite Cells Inhibits Myogenesis in Cancer Cachexia

PLoS One. 2015 Dec 28;10(12):e0145583. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0145583. eCollection 2015.


Cancer cachexia is a paraneoplastic syndrome that causes profound weight loss and muscle mass atrophy and is estimated to be the cause of up to 30% of cancer deaths. Though the exact cause is unknown, patients with cancer cachexia have increased muscle protein catabolism. In healthy muscle, injury activates skeletal muscle stem cells, called satellite cells, to differentiate and promote regeneration. Here, we provide evidence that this mechanism is inhibited in cancer cachexia due to persistent expression of CCAAT/Enhancer Binding Protein beta (C/EBPβ) in muscle myoblasts. C/EBPβ is a bzip transcription factor that is expressed in muscle satellite cells and is normally downregulated upon differentiation. However, in myoblasts exposed to a cachectic milieu, C/EBPβ expression remains elevated, despite activation to differentiate, resulting in the inhibition of myogenin expression and myogenesis. In vivo, cancer cachexia results in increased number of Pax7+ cells that also express C/EBPβ and the inhibition of normal repair mechanisms. Loss of C/EBPβ expression in primary myoblasts rescues differentiation under cachectic conditions without restoring myotube size, indicating that C/EBPβ is an important inhibitor of myogenesis in cancer cachexia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • CCAAT-Enhancer-Binding Protein-beta / metabolism*
  • Cachexia / etiology
  • Cachexia / metabolism*
  • Cachexia / pathology*
  • Carcinoma, Lewis Lung / complications
  • Carcinoma, Lewis Lung / metabolism
  • Carcinoma, Lewis Lung / pathology
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Culture Media, Conditioned
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Muscle Development / physiology*
  • Muscle Fibers, Skeletal / metabolism
  • Muscle Fibers, Skeletal / pathology
  • Myoblasts, Skeletal / metabolism
  • Myoblasts, Skeletal / pathology
  • Neoplasms / complications
  • Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Regeneration
  • Satellite Cells, Skeletal Muscle / metabolism*
  • Satellite Cells, Skeletal Muscle / pathology*


  • CCAAT-Enhancer-Binding Protein-beta
  • Culture Media, Conditioned