• C2C12;
  • differentiation;
  • myosin heavy chain;
  • proliferation;
  • skeletal muscle;
  • vitamin D


We investigated the effect of VD3 (1α,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3) on the proliferating, differentiating and differentiated phases of C2C12 myoblasts, a mouse skeletal muscle cell line. VD3 treatment in 10% FBS (fetal bovine serum) inhibited the proliferation and viability of the cells in a dose-dependent manner. It also dose-dependently increased the percentage of cells in the G0/G1 phase as shown by flow cytometry. In the differentiating phase, VD3 treatment inhibited the formation of myotubes and the expression of total myosin heavy chain at both the mRNA and protein levels. In the differentiated phase, treatment had no significant effect on the amount of total myosin heavy chain, as Western blot analysis with MF20 antibody [DSHB (Developmental Studies Hybridoma Bank)] showed. However, significantly greater expression of fast myosin heavy chain in 1 nM VD3 was found by Western blot analysis with MY-32 (Sigma). Thus VD3 inhibited the proliferation of myoblasts during proliferating and differentiating phases, whereas it increased the expression of the fast myosin heavy chain isoform in the differentiated phase. The data indicate that an adequate concentration of VD3 might have an anabolic effect on differentiated skeletal muscle.