Interferon-gamma inhibits proliferation, differentiation, and creatine kinase activity of cultured human muscle cells. II. A possible role in myositis

J Rheumatol. 1993 Oct;20(10):1718-23.


Objective: To investigate the effects of human interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) on cultured human skeletal muscle cells.

Methods: Muscle cell cultures were treated with various concentrations of recombinant human IFN-gamma, and muscle cell proliferation, creatine kinase synthesis and muscle cell cytotoxicity were analyzed.

Results: Treatment of muscle cell cultures with IFN-gamma resulted in significant inhibition of myoblasts proliferation, growth, and fusion into multinucleated myotubes. IFN-gamma inhibited creatine kinase synthesis if applied before, but not after, the myoblasts begin to differentiate into myotubes. The effect of IFN-gamma was dose dependent and observed at a concentration of IFN-gamma as low as 10 U/ml. Despite these cytostatic effects, IFN-gamma was not cytotoxic to cultured muscle cells even with very high (10,000 U/ml) IFN-gamma doses.

Conclusion: IFN-gamma inhibits muscle cell proliferation and differentiation in vitro. These findings suggest that IFN-gamma, a T cell lymphokine, may inhibit muscle regeneration and the repair of injured muscle fibers in myositis.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Cell Differentiation / drug effects
  • Cell Division / drug effects
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Creatine Kinase / metabolism*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Humans
  • Interferon-gamma / pharmacology*
  • Interferon-gamma / physiology
  • Muscles / cytology
  • Muscles / drug effects
  • Muscles / enzymology*
  • Myositis / enzymology*
  • Myositis / pathology*
  • Osmolar Concentration


  • Interferon-gamma
  • Creatine Kinase