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Mech Ageing Dev. 2010 Jan;131(1):9-20. doi: 10.1016/j.mad.2009.11.001. Epub 2009 Nov 12.

Transcriptional profiling of skeletal muscle reveals factors that are necessary to maintain satellite cell integrity during ageing.

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Research Centre on Aging, Université de Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, QC, Canada.


Skeletal muscle ageing is characterized by faulty degenerative/regenerative processes that promote the decline of its mass, strength, and endurance. In this study, we used a transcriptional profiling method to better understand the molecular pathways and factors that contribute to these processes. To more appropriately contrast the differences in regenerative capacity of old muscle, we compared it with young muscle, where robust growth and efficient myogenic differentiation is ongoing. Notably, in old mice, we found a severe deficit in satellite cells activation. We performed expression analyses on RNA from the gastrocnemius muscle of young (3-week-old) and old (24-month-old) mice. The differential expression highlighted genes that are involved in the efficient functioning of satellite cells. Indeed, the greatest number of up-regulated genes in young mice encoded components of the extracellular matrix required for the maintenance of the satellite cell niche. Moreover, other genes included Wnt inhibitors (Wif1 and Sfrp2) and Notch activator (Dner), which are putatively involved in the interconnected signalling networks that control satellite cell function. The widespread expression differences for inhibitors of TGFbeta signalling further emphasize the shortcomings in satellite cell performance. Therefore, we draw attention to the breakdown of features required to maintain satellite cell integrity during the ageing process.

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