The loss of skeletal muscle mass is characteristic of inactivity-, disease-, and age-related conditions and negatively affects whole muscle function and quality of life. Consequently, understanding the mechanisms of muscle fiber size maintenance and growth is important for guiding interventions and therapeutics. In response to short-term loading (two weeks), muscle stem cells (satellite cells) are not necessary for hypertrophy in adult mice. However, after long-term loading (eight weeks), the absence of satellite cells results in robust expansion of the cytosolic area that myonuclei govern (myonuclear domain), excessive extracellular matrix deposition, and blunted muscle fiber growth. Whether compromised growth is a consequence of fibrosis or a lack of myonuclear addition mediated by the loss of satellite cells is presently uncertain. To understand the role of satellite cells during prolonged muscle hypertrophy, our laboratory recently developed the Pax7-N-WASp mouse. Inducible depletion of N-WASp specifically in satellite cells inhibits their ability to fuse into a muscle fiber and contribute a nucleus during hypertrophy. However, their presence and activation during growth can regulate extracellular matrix accumulation. This mouse model will elucidate whether limiting fibrosis promotes muscle fiber growth in the absence of myonuclear accretion. Furthermore, the ability to prevent satellite cell fusion in vivo will allow for exploration into whether satellite cells communicate with muscle fibers in the absence of fusion. The findings from this proposal will provide fundamental information on the necessity of satellite cells during adult skeletal muscle hypertrophy and potentially define new roles for satellite cells independent from fusion into muscle fibers.

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Satellite cells are the primary stem cells in skeletal muscle and are important for muscle hypertrophy, but their role(s) are incompletely defined. Using a novel transgenic mouse model, this project will elucidate whether satellite cell-mediated regulation of the muscle extracellular environment or contribution to muscle fibers is necessary to sustain prolonged muscle fiber growth, and whether satellite cells can communicate to muscle fibers without fusing. Understanding how satellite cells participate in muscle growth during loading will guide future research regarding the therapeutic potential of these cells.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS)
Postdoctoral Individual National Research Service Award (F32)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1)
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Boyce, Amanda T
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University of Kentucky
Schools of Medicine
United States
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Noehren, B; Kosmac, K; Walton, R G et al. (2018) Alterations in quadriceps muscle cellular and molecular properties in adults with moderate knee osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis Cartilage 26:1359-1368
Murach, Kevin A; Fry, Christopher S; Kirby, Tyler J et al. (2018) Starring or Supporting Role? Satellite Cells and Skeletal Muscle Fiber Size Regulation. Physiology (Bethesda) 33:26-38
Murach, Kevin A; Englund, Davis A; Dupont-Versteegden, Esther E et al. (2018) Myonuclear Domain Flexibility Challenges Rigid Assumptions on Satellite Cell Contribution to Skeletal Muscle Fiber Hypertrophy. Front Physiol 9:635
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Murach, Kevin A; White, Sarah H; Wen, Yuan et al. (2017) Differential requirement for satellite cells during overload-induced muscle hypertrophy in growing versus mature mice. Skelet Muscle 7:14