The thymidine analogue 5-bromodeoxyuridine (BUdR) has a differential effect on the synthesis of tissue-specific products and molecules required for growth and division. Proliferating myogenic cells cultured in BUdR fail to fuse and fail to initiate the synthesis of contractile protein filaments. Conversely, BUdR has but a minor effect on cell viability and reproductive integrity. Low concentrations of BUdR result in an enhancement of cell number relative to the controls; higher concentrations are cytotoxic. Suppression of myogenesis is reversible after at least 10 cell generations of growth in the analogue. Cells that do not synthesize DNA, such as postmitotic myoblasts and myotubes, are not affected by BUdR. Incorporation of BUdR for one round of DNA synthesis was accomplished by first incubating myogenic cells, prior to fusion, in 5-fluorodeoxyuridine (FUdR) to block DNA synthesis and collect cells in the presynthetic phase. The cells were then allowed to synthesize either normal DNA or BU-DNA for one S period by circumventing the FUdR block with BUdR or BUdR plus thymidine (TdR). The cultures were continued in FUdR to prevent dilution of the incorporated analogue by further division. After 3 days, the cultures from the FUdR-BUdR series showed the typical BUdR effect; the cells were excessively flattened and few multinucleated myotubes formed. Cells in the control cultures were of normal morphology, and multinucleated myotubes were present. These results were confirmed in another experiment in which BUdR-3H was added to 2-day cultures in which myotubes were forming. Fusion of thymidine-3H-labeled cells begins at 8 hr after the preceding S phase. In contrast, cells which incorporate BUdR-3H for one S period do not fuse with normal myotubes.

This content is only available as a PDF.