Myostatin suppresses adipogenic differentiation and lipid accumulation by activating crosstalk between ERK1/2 and PKA signaling pathways in porcine subcutaneous preadipocytes

J Anim Sci. 2021 Dec 1;99(12):skab287. doi: 10.1093/jas/skab287.


The current study was undertaken to determine the effect of myostatin (MSTN) on lipid accumulation in porcine subcutaneous preadipocytes (PSPAs) and to further explore the potential molecular mechanisms. PSPAs isolated from Meishan weaned piglets were added with various concentrations of MSTN recombinant protein during the entire period of adipogenic differentiation process. Results showed that MSTN treatment significantly reduced the lipid accumulation, intracellular triglyceride (TG) content, glucose consumption, and glycerol phosphate dehydrogenase activity, while increased glycerol and free fatty acid release. Consistent with above results, the extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 (ERK1/2) pathway was obviously activated and thus key adipogenic transcription factors peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma (PPAR-γ), CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein-alpha (C/EBP-α), and their downstream enzymes fatty acid synthase and acetyl-CoA carboxylase were all inhibited. However, chemical inhibition of ERK1/2 signaling pathway by PD98059 markedly reversed the decreased TG content by increasing PPAR-γ expression. In addition, MSTN activated the cyclic AMP/protein kinase A (cAMP/PKA) pathway and stimulated lipolysis by reducing the expression of antilipolytic gene perilipin, thus elevated key lipolytic enzymes adipose triglyceride lipase and hormone-sensitive lipase (HSL) expression and enzyme activity. On the contrary, pretreatment with PKA inhibitor H89 significantly reversed TG accumulation by increasing PPAR-γ expression and thus inhibiting ERK1/2, perilipin, and HSL phosphorylation, supporting the crosstalk between PKA and ERK1/2 pathways in both the anti-adipogenic and pro-lipolytic effects. In summary, our results suggested that MSTN suppressed adipogenesis and stimulated lipolysis, which was mainly mediated by activating crosstalk of ERK1/2 and PKA signaling pathways, and consequently decreased lipid accumulation in PSPAs, our findings may provide novel insights for further exploring MSTN as a potent inhibitor of porcine subcutaneous lipid accumulation.

Keywords: ERK1/2 signaling pathway; adipogenesis and lipolysis; cAMP/PKA pathway; myostatin; porcine subcutaneous preadipocytes.

MeSH terms

  • 3T3-L1 Cells
  • Adipocytes* / metabolism
  • Adipogenesis*
  • Animals
  • Cyclic AMP-Dependent Protein Kinases / metabolism
  • Lipolysis
  • Mice
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase 3
  • Myostatin
  • PPAR gamma / genetics
  • PPAR gamma / metabolism
  • Phosphorylation
  • Signal Transduction
  • Swine
  • Triglycerides


  • Myostatin
  • PPAR gamma
  • Triglycerides
  • Cyclic AMP-Dependent Protein Kinases
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase 3