Cobalt triggers necrotic cell death and atrophy in skeletal C2C12 myotubes

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Severe poisoning has recently been diagnosed in humans having hip implants composed of cobalt–chrome alloys due to the release of particulate wear debris on polyethylene and ceramic implants which stimulates macrophagic infiltration and destroys bone and soft tissue, leading to neurological, sensorial and muscular impairments. Consistent with this premise, in this study, we focused on the mechanisms underlying the toxicity of Co(II) ions on skeletal muscle using mouse skeletal C2C12 myotubes as an in vitro model. As detected using propidium iodide incorporation, increasing CoCl2 doses (from 5 to 200 μM) affected the viability of C2C12 myotubes, mainly by cell necrosis, which was attenuated by necrostatin-1, an inhibitor of the necroptotic branch of the death domain receptor signaling pathway. On the other hand, apoptosis was hardly detectable as supported by the lack of caspase-3 and -8 activation, the latter resulting in only faint activation after exposure to higher CoCl2 doses for prolonged time points. Furthermore, CoCl2 treatment resulted in atrophy of the C2C12 myotubes which was characterized by the increased expression of HSP25 and GRP94 stress proteins and other typical `pro-atrophic molecular hallmarks, such as early activation of the NF-kB pathway and down-regulation of AKT phosphorylation, followed by the activation of the proteasome and autophagy systems. Overall, these results suggested that cobalt may impact skeletal muscle homeostasis as an inducer of cell necrosis and myofiber atrophy.HighlightsThe effects of cobalt on muscle myofibers in vitro were investigated.Cobalt treatment mainly causes cell necrosis in skeletal C2C12 myotubes.Cobalt impacts the PI3K/AKT and NFkB pathways and induces cell stress markers.Cobalt induces atrophy of C2C12 myotubes through the activation of proteasome and autophagy systems.Co treatment triggers NF-kB and PI3K/AKT pathways in C2C12 myotubes.

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