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Exp Gerontol. 2004 Oct;39(10):1545-54.

Ageing affects the differentiation potential of human myoblasts.

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  • 1Department of Physiology and Pathology and Centre for Neuroscience B.R.A.I.N., University of Trieste, via A. Fleming 22, I-34127 Trieste, Italy.


The ageing process causes a reduction in the regenerative potential of skeletal muscles eventually leading to diminished muscle strength. In this work we investigated if ageing affects the excitation-contraction coupling mechanism in human myotubes derived from human satellite cells, thereby contributing to the loss in muscle strength in the aged. To test this hypothesis, satellite cells from differently aged donors were differentiated in vitro and the maturation of the excitation-contraction mechanism was followed by the videoimaging technique monitoring the efficiency of such a mechanism in generating intracellular calcium transients. Our experiments showed a delay in the establishment of the excitation-contraction coupling mechanism depending on the age of the donor. Remarkably, the effect was reproducible in human satellite cells from a young donor aged in vitro, suggesting that the delayed functional maturation was strictly dependent on the number of satellite cell divisions and independent from the host environment.

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