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Methods Mol Biol. 2016;1460:43-52. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4939-3810-0_4.

Synergist Ablation as a Rodent Model to Study Satellite Cell Dynamics in Adult Skeletal Muscle.

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Center for Muscle Biology, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY, USA.
Department of Physiology, College of Medicine, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY, USA.
Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, College of Health Sciences, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY, USA.
Department of Nutrition and Metabolism, School of Health Professions, University of Texas Medical Branch, 301 University Blvd, MRB 10.104D, Galveston, TX, 77555, USA.


In adult skeletal muscles, satellite cells are the primary myogenic stem cells involved in myogenesis. Normally, they remain in a quiescent state until activated by a stimulus, after which they proliferate, differentiate, and fuse into an existing myofiber or form a de novo myofiber. To study satellite cell dynamics in adult murine models, most studies utilize regeneration models in which the muscle is severely damaged and requires the participation from satellite cells in order to repair. Here, we describe a model to study satellite cell behavior in muscle hypertrophy that is independent of muscle regeneration.Synergist ablation surgery involves the surgical removal of the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles resulting in functional overload of the remaining plantaris muscle. This functional overload results in myofiber hypertrophy, as well as the activation, proliferation, and fusion of satellite cells into the myofibers. Within 2 weeks of functional overload, satellite cell content increases approximately 275 %, an increase that is accompanied with a ~60 % increase in the number of myonuclei. Therefore, this can be used as an alternative model to study satellite cell behavior in adulthood that is different from regeneration, and capable of revealing new satellite cell functions in regulating muscle adaptation.


Functional overload; Hypertrophy; Satellite cells; Skeletal muscle; Synergist ablation

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