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Curr Top Dev Biol. 2018;126:205-233. doi: 10.1016/bs.ctdb.2017.08.006. Epub 2017 Dec 7.

"Known Unknowns": Current Questions in Muscle Satellite Cell Biology.

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University of Missouri, Columbia, MO, United States; Christopher S. Bond Life Sciences Center, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO, United States. Electronic address:


Our understanding of satellite cells, now known to be the obligate stem cells of skeletal muscle, has increased dramatically in recent years due to the introduction of new molecular, genetic, and technical resources. In addition to their role in acute repair of damaged muscle, satellite cells are of interest in the fields of aging, exercise, neuromuscular disease, and stem cell therapy, and all of these applications have driven a dramatic increase in our understanding of the activity and potential of satellite cells. However, many fundamental questions of satellite cell biology remain to be answered, including their emergence as a specific lineage, the degree and significance of heterogeneity within the satellite cell population, the roles of their interactions with other resident and infiltrating cell types during homeostasis and regeneration, and the relative roles of intrinsic vs extrinsic factors that may contribute to satellite cell dysfunction in the context of aging or disease. This review will address the current state of these open questions in satellite cell biology.


Aging; Exercise; Hypertrophy; Muscular dystrophy; Myogenesis; Regeneration; Satellite cells; Skeletal muscle; Stem cells

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