We developed a new cell stimulation method in which magnetic microparticles (MPs) were introduced into the cytoplasm of cultured myoblasts and the cells were cultured in a magnetic field. The differentiation of myoblasts was examined from the viewpoint of their morphology and myogenin production. After exposure to the magnetic field, the cells containing MPs became larger and were elongated along the axis of the magnetic poles. Myogenin, a muscle-specific regulatory factor involved in controlling myogenesis, was formed earlier, and myotubes were seen earlier and more frequently in this group of myoblasts than in the other groups (cells alone without magnetic field, cells containing MPs but without magnetic field, and cells alone with magnetic field). Moreover, we succeeded in differentiation of early muscle cells with striated myofibrils in culture at 0.05 T. The precisely quantitative and stable stimulus induced by a magnetic field developed in the present study offers a new approach to elucidate the entire process of myoblast differentiation into myotubes.
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Vol. 36 • No. 6