Main content area

New insights into the trophic and cytoprotective effects of creatine in in vitro and in vivo models of cell maturation

Sestili, Piero, Ambrogini, Patrizia, Barbieri, Elena, Sartini, Stefano, Fimognari, Carmela, Calcabrini, Cinzia, Diaz, Anna Rita, Guescini, Michele, Polidori, Emanuela, Luchetti, Francesca, Canonico, Barbara, Lattanzi, Davide, Cuppini, Riccardo, Papa, Stefano, Stocchi, Vilberto
Amino acids 2016 v.48 no.8 pp. 1897-1911
adults, brain, cell differentiation, chicks, creatine, electrophysiology, energy, exercise, gene expression, messenger RNA, muscle strength, muscles, myoblasts, myotubes, neurons, oxidative stress, physiological response, protein synthesis, rats, spinal cord, viability
A growing body of scientific reports indicates that the role of creatine (Cr) in cellular biochemistry and physiology goes beyond its contribution to cell energy. Indeed Cr has been shown to exert multiple effects promoting a wide range of physiological responses in vitro as well as in vivo. Included in these, Cr promotes in vitro neuron and muscle cell differentiation, viability and survival under normal or adverse conditions; anabolic, protective and pro-differentiative effects have also been observed in vivo. For example Cr has been shown to accelerate in vitro differentiation of cultured C2C12 myoblasts into myotubes, where it also induces a slight but significant hypertrophic effect as compared to unsupplemented cultures; Cr also prevents the anti-differentiation effects caused by oxidative stress in the same cells. In trained adults, Cr increases the mRNA expression of relevant myogemic factors, protein synthesis, muscle strength and size, in cooperation with physical exercise. As to neurons and central nervous system, Cr favors the electrophysiological maturation of chick neuroblasts in vitro and protects them from oxidative stress-caused killing; similarly, Cr promotes the survival and differentiation of GABA-ergic neurons in fetal spinal cord cultures in vitro; in vivo, maternal Cr supplementation promotes the morpho-functional development of hippocampal neurons in rat offsprings. This article, which presents also some new experimental data, focuses on the trophic, pro-survival and pro-differentiation effects of Cr and examines the ensuing preventive and therapeutic potential in pathological muscle and brain conditions.