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J Histochem Cytochem. 2010 Apr;58(4):317-27. doi: 10.1369/jhc.2009.954792. Epub 2009 Dec 21.

Retention of Pax3 expression in satellite cells of muscle spindles.

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Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.


Intrafusal fibers within muscle spindles retain features characteristic of immaturity, unlike the larger and more numerous extrafusal fibers constituting the bulk of skeletal muscle. Satellite cells (SCs), myogenic progenitors, are detected on the surfaces of both intrafusal and extrafusal fibers, but little is known of spindle SCs. We have recently demonstrated that, like their extrafusal counterparts, SCs in muscle spindles of posthatch chickens express paired box transcription factor 7 (Pax7) protein. During vertebrate embryogenesis, myogenic progenitors express both Pax7 and Pax3 proteins. In postnatal mice, Pax3 appears in rare SC subsets, whereas Pax7 is expressed by all SCs within extrafusal fibers. Here we test the hypothesis that Pax3 protein maintains localized expression within SCs of muscle spindles. Immunohistochemical techniques were used to identify SCs by their Pax7 expression within anterior latissimus dorsi muscle excised from posthatch chickens of various ages. A greater percentage of SCs express Pax3 within intrafusal than extrafusal fibers at each age, and the proportion of SCs expressing Pax3 declines with aging. This is the first study to localize Pax3 expression in posthatch avian muscle and within SCs of muscle spindles. We suggest that Pax3-positive SCs are involved in fiber maintenance.

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