Inhibition of myogenesis by ouabain: Effect on protein synthesis

  • Peter G. Pauw
  • Chris R. Kaffer
  • Ryan J. Petersen
  • Sarah A. Semerad
  • Daniel C. Williams
Growth, Differentiation and Senescence


Ouabain, a specific inhibitor of the sodium- and potassium-activated adenosine triphosphatase, causes reversible inhibition of the fusion of myoblasts to form myotubes. We further examined this observation to investigate whether control of Na/K-ATPase activity may normally contribute to the regulation of myogenesis. In control cultures, fusion was preceded by a small decrease in intracellular sodium concentration, but intracellular sodium and potassium increased significantly during fusion. Levels of ouabain that produce prolonged inhibition of fusion (400 μM) virtually eliminated sodium and potassium gradients. However, lower ouabain levels (10–100 μM) also produced significant changes in intracellular potassium and/or sodium along with little apparent decrease in the eventual extent of fusion. The effect of ouabain on protein synthesis was also examined. Low levels of ouabain (<50 μM) that did not affect myogenesis also did not affect incorporation of radiolabeled amino acids, while higher concentrations produced a decline in protein synthesis that paralleled decreases in the rate of myoblast fusion. Levels of metabolic labeling were reduced 90% in cultures treated with 400 μM ouabain. Inhibition of protein synthesis would prevent membrane remodeling required for fusion and other events in myogenesis. Thus, our results do not support any specific role for the sodium- and potassium-activated adenosine triphosphatase in regulating myogenesis.

Key words

cardiac glycosides sodium gradient Na/K-pump myoblast fusion 


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Copyright information

© Society for In Vitro Biology 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter G. Pauw
    • 1
  • Chris R. Kaffer
    • 1
  • Ryan J. Petersen
    • 1
  • Sarah A. Semerad
    • 1
  • Daniel C. Williams
    • 1
  1. 1.Gonzaga UniversitySpokane

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