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Estrogen biosynthesis in cultured skeletal muscle cells (L6) induced by amino acids

Journal article
Authors Britt-Marie Iresjö
Andreas Landin
Claes Ohlsson
Kent Lundholm
Published in Genes & Nutrition
Volume 14
ISSN 1865-3499
Publication year 2019
Published at Institute of Clinical Sciences, Department of Surgery
Institute of Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine and Clinical Nutrition
Language en
Subject categories Cell and Molecular Biology


Abstract Background Previous investigations have indicated upregulation of gene expression in cellular pathways related to the biosynthesis of steroids in response to amino acids (AA) in skeletal muscle cells. This suggests AA as modulators of de novo synthesis of sex steroids for muscle growth and improved functional capacity. The aim of the present study was to investigate if increased availability of amino acids induced biosynthesis of sex steroids in skeletal muscles. Methods Confluent L6 muscle cells were cultured in media with various AA concentrations (0.3 or 9 mM AA or 2.1 mM branched-chain (BCAA) only), following pre-culture in serum-free medium. Sex steroids were quantified by gas chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (GC-MS/MS). Mevalonate (diphospho-) decarboxylase enzyme (MVD) was quantified by Western blot. Results The experiments confirmed that estradiol and estrone increased in both L6 cell lysates and in conditioned media at the end of experiments on confluent cells, while progesterone or androgenic steroids were not detected in either cell lysates or culture media. Estradiol (+ 31 ± 3%) and estrone (+ 18 ± 4%) increased significantly in cells cultured at 9 mM AA (p < 0.001 vs. 0.3 mM AA, n = 10). Similarly, MVD protein increased at 9 mM AA (p < 0.001 vs. 0.3 mM AA, n = 17). An addition of BCAA alone to media increased MVD-protein levels to the same extent as all AA (p < 0.01 vs. 0.3 mM AA, n = 3). Conclusion Female sex steroids and MVD enzyme production increased significantly in response to amino acid availability. The results indicate a role of amino acids as modulators of local muscle estrogen synthesis in muscle cells from rats at feeding.

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