Background: Hachimijiogan (HJG), Ba-Wei-Di-Huang-Wan in Chinese, is one of the most popular herbal medicines in Japanese Kampo. HJG is often prescribed for the prevention and treatment of age-related diseases. Muscle atrophy plays an important role in aging-related disabilities such as sarcopenia. The purpose of this study was to investigate the possible beneficial effect of HJG on skeletal muscle. Methods: Cells of murine skeletal muscle myoblast cell line C2C12 were used as an in vitro model of muscle cell proliferation and differentiation. The effect of HJG on C2C12 cell proliferation and differentiation was assessed. We counted the number of myotubes morphologically to assess the degree of differentiation. Results: HJG treatment (200 μg/mL) for 3 days significantly increased C2C12 cell number by 1.23-fold compared with that of the control. HJG promoted the proliferation of C2C12 cells through activation of the ERK1/2 signaling pathway without affecting the Akt signaling pathway. HJG did not affect the differentiation of C2C12 cells. Conclusion: HJG had beneficial effects on skeletal muscle myoblast proliferation. These findings may provide a useful intervention for the prevention and treatment of sarcopenia.
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