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Logo of bmcgenoBioMed Centralsearchsubmit a manuscriptregisterthis articleBMC Genomics
BMC Genomics. 2009; 10: 448.
Published online 2009 September 23. doi:  10.1186/1471-2164-10-448
PMCID: PMC2758907

Expression profiling of skeletal muscle following acute and chronic β2-adrenergic stimulation: implications for hypertrophy, metabolism and circadian rhythm



Systemic administration of β-adrenoceptor (β-AR) agonists has been found to induce skeletal muscle hypertrophy and significant metabolic changes. In the context of energy homeostasis, the importance of β-AR signaling has been highlighted by the inability of β1-3-AR-deficient mice to regulate energy expenditure and susceptibility to diet induced obesity. However, the molecular pathways and gene expression changes that initiate and maintain these phenotypic modulations are poorly understood. Therefore, the aim of this study was to identify differential changes in gene expression in murine skeletal muscle associated with systemic (acute and chronic) administration of the β2-AR agonist formoterol.


Skeletal muscle gene expression (from murine tibialis anterior) was profiled at both 1 and 4 hours following systemic administration of the β2-AR agonist formoterol, using Illumina 46K mouse BeadArrays. Illumina expression profiling revealed significant expression changes in genes associated with skeletal muscle hypertrophy, myoblast differentiation, metabolism, circadian rhythm, transcription, histones, and oxidative stress. Differentially expressed genes relevant to the regulation of muscle mass and metabolism (in the context of the hypertrophic phenotype) were further validated by quantitative RT-PCR to examine gene expression in response to both acute (1-24 h) and chronic administration (1-28 days) of formoterol at multiple timepoints. In terms of skeletal muscle hypertrophy, attenuation of myostatin signaling (including differential expression of myostatin, activin receptor IIB, phospho-Smad3 etc) was observed following acute and chronic administration of formoterol. Acute (but not chronic) administration of formoterol also significantly induced the expression of genes involved in oxidative metabolism, including hexokinase 2, sorbin and SH3 domain containing 1, and uncoupling protein 3. Interestingly, formoterol administration also appeared to influence some genes associated with the peripheral regulation of circadian rhythm (including nuclear factor interleukin 3 regulated, D site albumin promoter binding protein, and cryptochrome 2).


This is the first study to utilize gene expression profiling to examine global gene expression in response to acute β2-AR agonist treatment of skeletal muscle. In summary, systemic administration of a β2-AR agonist had a profound effect on global gene expression in skeletal muscle. In terms of hypertrophy, β2-AR agonist treatment altered the expression of several genes associated with myostatin signaling, a previously unreported effect of β-AR signaling in skeletal muscle. This study also demonstrates a β2-AR agonist regulation of circadian rhythm genes, indicating crosstalk between β-AR signaling and circadian cycling in skeletal muscle. Gene expression alterations discovered in this study provides insight into many of the underlying changes in gene expression that mediate β-AR induced skeletal muscle hypertrophy and altered metabolism.

Articles from BMC Genomics are provided here courtesy of BioMed Central