Klotho expression is a prerequisite for proper muscle stem cell function and regeneration of skeletal muscle

Skelet Muscle. 2018 Jul 4;8(1):20. doi: 10.1186/s13395-018-0166-x.


Background: Klotho is a well-known anti-aging hormone, which serves as a suppressor of aging through a variety of mechanisms. Aging of skeletal muscle is concomitant with a decrease in muscle stem cell function resulting in impaired regeneration.

Methods: Here we investigate the functional role of the anti-aging hormone Klotho for muscle stem cell function after cardiotoxin-induced injury of skeletal muscle using a klotho hypomorphic mouse line, which is characterized by a premature aging phenotype. Furthermore, we perform floating single myofiber cultures with their adjacent muscle stem cells to investigate the interplay between canonical Wnt signaling and Klotho function.

Results: We demonstrate that muscle stem cell numbers are significantly decreased in klotho hypomorphic mice. Furthermore, we show that muscle stem cell function is also severely impaired upon loss of klotho expression, in culture and during regeneration in vivo. Moreover, we demonstrate that addition of recombinant Klotho protein inhibits aberrant excessive Wnt signaling in aged muscle stem cells thereby restoring their functionality.

Conclusions: The anti-aging hormone Klotho counteracts aberrant canonical Wnt signaling in muscle stem cells and might be one of the naturally occurring inhibitors of canonical Wnt signaling in skeletal muscle.

Keywords: Aging; Canonical Wnt signaling, Wnt3a; Klotho; Muscle stem cell; Myogenesis; Regeneration; Skeletal muscle.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aging / pathology
  • Aging / physiology
  • Aging, Premature / pathology
  • Aging, Premature / physiopathology
  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology
  • Cell Proliferation / physiology
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Glucuronidase / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Glucuronidase / deficiency
  • Glucuronidase / genetics
  • Glucuronidase / physiology*
  • Klotho Proteins
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Mutant Strains
  • Muscle Development / physiology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Myoblasts, Skeletal / drug effects
  • Myoblasts, Skeletal / pathology
  • Myoblasts, Skeletal / physiology*
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Regeneration / physiology*
  • Wnt Signaling Pathway / physiology
  • Wnt3A Protein / pharmacology


  • RNA, Messenger
  • Wnt3A Protein
  • Wnt3a protein, mouse
  • Glucuronidase
  • Klotho Proteins