R-spondin3 is a myokine that differentiates myoblasts to type I fibres

Muscle fibres are broadly categorised into types I and II; the fibre-type ratio determines the contractile and metabolic properties of skeletal muscle tissue. The maintenance of type I fibres is essential for the prevention of obesity and the treatment of muscle atrophy caused by type 2 diabetes or unloading. Some reports suggest that myokines are related to muscle fibre type determination. We thus explored whether a myokine determines whether satellite cells differentiate to type I fibres. By examining the fibre types separately, we identified R-spondin 3 (Rspo3) as a myokine of interest, a secreted protein known as an activator of Wnt signalling pathways. To examine whether Rspo3 induces type I fibres, primary myoblasts prepared from mouse soleus muscles were exposed to a differentiation medium containing the mouse recombinant Rspo3 protein. Expression of myosin heavy chain (MyHC) I, a marker of type I fibre, significantly increased in the differentiated myotubes compared with a control. The Wnt/β-catenin pathway was shown to be the dominant signalling pathway which induces Rspo3-induced MyHC I expression. These results revealed Rspo3 as a myokine that determines whether satellite cells differentiate to type I fibres.