Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Document Type

Master's Thesis




Kinesiology and Health Promotion

First Advisor

Dr. Lance Bollinger

Second Advisor

Dr. Mark Abel


Background: Vitamin D is crucial for skeletal muscle function. 25-hidroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) has been correlated with skeletal muscle mass and intramyocellular lipid (IMCL) content. The purpose of this study was to understand how calcitriol, the active vitamin D metabolite, directly affects myocellular size and lipid partitioning.

Methods: C2C12 myotubes were treated with calcitriol (100nM) or vehicle control for 24 or 96 h. Myotube diameter and protein synthesis rate were measured to determine effects of calcitriol on myocellular size. Intramyocellular triacylglycerol (IMTG), diacylglycerol (DAG), and ceramide content were measured by LC/MS. Expression of genes involved in lipid packaging and lipolysis were measured by RT-PCR. Insulin-stimulated phosphorylated Akt (Thr 308) was determined by western blot.

Results: Calcitriol did not affect myocellular size or protein synthesis rate. Calcitriol increased total DAG and ceramides in a sub-species specific manner. Calcitriol increased IMTG area, but did not affect total IMTG content. Calcitriol reduced mRNA content of diglyceride acyltransferase and increased mRNA content of lipid packaging genes. Calcitriol did not negatively affect insulin-stimulated pAkt.

Conclusions: These results suggest calcitriol directly alters lipid content and packaging in skeletal muscle cells. Altering the expression of lipid packaging genes and increasing IMCL subspecies content may be mechanisms by which vitamin D improves skeletal muscle function in vivo.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)