Because muscle satellite cells have been implicated in the process of muscle growth and mass regulation, as well as regeneration, alterations in the capacity of satellite cells to differentiate and accumulate muscle specific proteins during aging could play a role in the process of senile muscle atrophy. Skeletal muscle satellite cells were cultured from male rats from the following four age groups: neonatal rats (less than 5 days of age), growing rats (1-3 months of age), adult rats (9-12 months of age) and old rats (more than 24 months of age). A series of experiments was conducted in which cultures were harvested at daily intervals following fusion, and the amount of α-actin per myotube nucleus was determined. Analysis of maximum actin accumulation in myotubes from each experiment within each age group revealed no significant differences among cells derived from growing, adult or old rats; however, myotubes differentiating from neonatal muscle cells were able to accumulate more than three times as much α-actin per myotube nuclei as cells from the other three age groups. This result may reflect fundamental differences between authentic satellite cells and myogenic cells of prenatal origin. Aside from differences between neonatal cells and satellite cells, satellite cells from old muscle do not appear to have a diminished capacity to accumulate muscle-specific proteins following differentiation into muscle fibers.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental Biology