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Int Rev Cytol. 1984;87:225-51.

The muscle satellite cell: a review.


Since the first reports of satellite cells in 1961, considerable knowledge has accumulated concerning their phylogenetic distribution and their location, morphology, and function. There is no doubt that satellite cells are capable of undergoing mitosis and that they have considerable motility. These cells function as the progenitors of the myofiber nuclei that must be added during normal (postnatal) growth of muscle. In muscle undergoing or attempting to undergo regeneration, the satellite cell functions as a myogenic stem cell to produce myoblasts that line up and fuse within the scaffolding of the remnant basal lamina or migrate into the interstitium to produce neofibers . A number of problems remain to be solved concerning the regulation of satellite cell function. At this time it is equivocable whether or not the presumptive myoblast and the satellite cell are functionally identical and at the same stage of myogenic differentiation. Apparently there is species variation in terms of the ability of myotubes from embryonic myogenic cells and satellite cells to synthesize protein. The mechanism(s) by which a wide variety of stimuli activate satellite cells is not known, nor is the mechanism(s) by which satellite cells become inactive during the latter stages of growth and adulthood known. Mitogenic factors are present in damaged muscle; but the specific characteristics of these factors and their mechanism of activation are also unknown. Hormones are certainly involved in the regulation of proliferation and differentiation of myogenic cells, but whether presumptive myoblasts and satellite cells or their myotubes respond similarly to hormones in culture has not been adequately examined. Greater understanding of these mechanisms will increase the possibility of total muscle recovery from severe injury or disease. Such knowledge would also have particular application to the production of meat animals and to a greater understanding of the growth process in general.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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