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J Histochem Cytochem. 2008 Sep;56(9):831-40. doi: 10.1369/jhc.2008.951608. Epub 2008 Jun 9.

Pax7 shows higher satellite cell frequencies and concentrations within intrafusal fibers of muscle spindles.

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Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan S7N 5E5, Canada.


Intrafusal fibers within muscle spindles make up a small subpopulation of muscle fibers. These proprioceptive fibers differ from most extrafusal fibers because, even in maturity, their diameters remain small, and they retain expression of developmental myosins. Although both extrafusal and intrafusal fibers contain satellite cells (SCs), comparatively little is known about intrafusal SCs. Analyzing chicken fast-phasic posterior (PLD) and slow-tonic anterior (ALD) latissimus dorsi muscles, we show that SCs of both intrafusal and extrafusal fibers express Pax7. We further test the hypotheses that intrafusal fibers display parameters reflective of extrafusal immaturity. These hypotheses are that intrafusal fibers contain (a) higher SC frequencies (number of SC nuclei/all nuclei within basal lamina) and concentrations (closer together) and (b) smaller myonuclear domains than do adjacent extrafusal fibers. IHC techniques were applied to PLD and ALD muscles excised at 30 and 138 days posthatch. The hypotheses were validated, suggesting that intrafusal fibers have greater capacities for growth, regeneration, and repair than do adjacent extrafusal fibers. During maturation, extrafusal and intrafusal fibers show similar trends of decreasing SC frequencies and concentrations and increases in myonuclear domains. Thus, extrafusal and intrafusal fibers alike should exhibit reduced capacities for growth, regeneration, and repair during maturation.

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