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J Histochem Cytochem. 1999 Jan;47(1):23-42.

Fibroblast growth factor promotes recruitment of skeletal muscle satellite cells in young and old rats.

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Department of Biological Structure, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle,


Although the role of satellite cells in muscle growth and repair is well recognized, understanding of the molecular events that accompany their activation and proliferation is limited. In this study, we used the single myofiber culture model for comparing the proliferative dynamics of satellite cells from growing (3-week-old), young adult (8- to 10-week-old), and old (9- to 11-month-old) rats. In these fiber cultures, the satellite cells are maintained in their in situ position underneath the fiber basement membrane. We first demonstrate that the cytoplasm of fiber-associated satellite cells can be monitored with an antibody against the extracellular signal regulated kinases 1 and 2 (ERK1 and ERK2), which belong to the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) superfamily. With this immunocytological marker, we show that the satellite cells from all three age groups first proliferate and express PCNA and MyoD, and subsequently, about 24 hr later, exit the PCNA+/MyoD+ state and become positive for myogenin. For all three age groups, fibroblast growth factor 2 (FGF2) enhances by about twofold the number of satellite cells that are capable of proliferation, as determined by monitoring the number of cells that transit from the MAPK+ phenotype to the PCNA+/MAPK+ or MyoD+/MAPK+ phenotype. Furthermore, contrary to the commonly accepted convention, we show that in the fiber cultures FGF2 does not suppress the subsequent transition of the proliferating cells into the myogenin+ compartment. Although myogenesis of satellite cells from growing, young adult, and old rats follows a similar program, two distinctive features were identified for satellite cells in fiber cultures from the old rats. First, a large number of MAPK+ cells do not appear to enter the MyoD-myogenin expression program. Second, the maximal number of proliferating satellite cells is attained a day later than in cultures from the young adults. This apparent "lag" in proliferation was not affected by hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), which has been implicated in accelerating the first round of satellite cell proliferation. HGF and FGF2 were equally efficient in promoting proliferation of satellite cells in fibers from old rats. Collectively, the investigation suggests that FGF plays a critical role in the recruitment of satellite cells into proliferation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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