Effect of p38 inhibitor on the proliferation of chicken muscle stem cells and differentiation into muscle and fat

  • Minkyung, Ryu (Department of Agricultural Biotechnology, Center for Food and Bioconvergence, and Research Institute of Agriculture and Life Science, Seoul National University) ;
  • Minsu, Kim (Department of Agricultural Biotechnology, Center for Food and Bioconvergence, and Research Institute of Agriculture and Life Science, Seoul National University) ;
  • Hyun Young, Jung (Department of Agricultural Biotechnology, Center for Food and Bioconvergence, and Research Institute of Agriculture and Life Science, Seoul National University) ;
  • Cho Hyun, Kim (Department of Agricultural Biotechnology, Center for Food and Bioconvergence, and Research Institute of Agriculture and Life Science, Seoul National University) ;
  • Cheorun, Jo (Department of Agricultural Biotechnology, Center for Food and Bioconvergence, and Research Institute of Agriculture and Life Science, Seoul National University)
  • Received : 2022.04.26
  • Accepted : 2022.07.04
  • Published : 2023.02.01


Objective: Inhibiting the p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling pathway delays differentiation and increases proliferation of muscle stem cells in most species. Here, we aimed to investigate the effect of p38 inhibitor (p38i) treatment on the proliferation and differentiation of chicken muscle stem cells. Methods: Chicken muscle stem cells were collected from the muscle tissues of Hy-line Brown chicken embryos at embryonic day 18, then isolated by the preplating method. Cells were cultured for 4 days in growth medium supplemented with dimethyl sulfoxide or 1, 10, 20 μM of p38i, then subcultured for up to 4 passages. Differentiation was induced for 3 days with differentiation medium. Each treatment was replicated 3 times. Results: The proliferation and mRNA expression of paired box 7 gene and myogenic factor 5 gene, as well as the mRNA expression of myogenic differentiation marker gene myogenin were significantly higher in p38i-treated cultures than in control (p<0.05), but immunofluorescence staining and mRNA expression of myosin heavy chain (MHC) were not significantly different between the two groups. Oil red O staining of accumulated lipid droplets in differentiated cell cultures revealed a higher lipid density in p38i-treated cultures than in control; however, the expression of the adipogenic marker gene peroxisome proliferator activated receptor gamma was not significantly different between the two groups. Conclusion: p38 inhibition in chicken muscle stem cells improves cell proliferation, but the effects on myogenic differentiation and lipid accumulation require additional analysis. Further studies are needed on the chicken p38-MAPK pathway to understand the muscle and fat development mechanism.



This work was supported by the Korea Evaluation Institute of Industrial Technology (KEIT, 20012411) and partially from the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grant (2022R1A2C1005235).


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