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Fatty acids (FA) exert physiological and pathophysiological effects leading to changes in skeletal muscle metabolism and function, however, in vitro models to investigate these changes are limited. These experiments sought to establish the effects of physiological and pathophysiological concentrations of exogenous FA upon the function of tissue engineered skeletal muscle (TESkM). Cultured initially for 14 days, C2C12 TESkM was exposed to FA-free bovine serum albumin alone or conjugated to a FA mixture (oleic, palmitic, linoleic, and α-linoleic acids [OPLA] [ratio 45:30:24:1%]) at different concentrations (200 or 800 µM) for an additional 4 days. Subsequently, TESkM morphology, functional capacity, gene expression and insulin signaling were analyzed. There was a dose response increase in the number and size of lipid droplets within the TESkM (p < .05). Exposure to exogenous FA increased the messenger RNA expression of genes involved in lipid storage (perilipin 2 [p < .05]) and metabolism (pyruvate dehydrogenase lipoamide kinase isozyme 4 [p < .01]) in a dose dependent manner. TESkM force production was reduced (tetanic and single twitch) (p < .05) and increases in transcription of type I slow twitch fiber isoform, myosin heavy chain 7, were observed when cultured with 200 µM OPLA compared to control (p < .01). Four days of OPLA exposure results in lipid accumulation in TESkM which in turn results in changes in muscle function and metabolism; thus, providing insight ito the functional and mechanistic changes of TESkM in response to exogenous FA.

Original publication




Journal article


J Cell Physiol

Publication Date



contraction, insulin sensitivity, lipids