The influence of capillarization on satellite cell pool expansion and activation following exercise-induced muscle damage in healthy young men Academic Article uri icon

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  • KEY POINTS: Skeletal muscle stem cells (satellite cells) play a crucial role in repair and remodelling of muscle in response to exercise. Satellite cells are in close spatial proximity to muscle capillaries and therefore may be influenced by them. In this study, we describe the activation and expansion of the satellite cell pool in response to eccentric contraction-induced muscle damage in individuals with significantly different levels of muscle capillarization. Individuals with greater capillarization and capacity for muscle perfusion demonstrated enhanced activation and/or expansion of the satellite cell pool allowing for an accelerated recovery of muscle function. These results provide insight into the critical relationship between muscle capillarization and satellite cells during skeletal muscle repair. ABSTRACT: Factors that determine the skeletal muscle satellite cell (SC) response remain incompletely understood. It is known, however, that SC activation status is closely related to the anatomical relationship between SCs and muscle capillaries. We investigated the impact of muscle fibre capillarization on the expansion and activation status of SCs following a muscle-damaging exercise protocol in healthy young men. Twenty-nine young men (21 ± 0.5 years) performed 300 unilateral eccentric contractions (180 deg s-1 ) of the knee extensors. Percutaneous muscle biopsies from the vastus lateralis and blood samples from the antecubital vein were taken prior to (Pre) exercise and at 6, 24, 72 and 96 h of post-exercise recovery. A comparison was made between subjects who had a relative low mixed muscle capillary-to-fibre perimeter exchange index (CFPE; Low group) and high mixed muscle CFPE index (High group) at baseline. Type I and type II muscle fibre size, myonuclear content, capillarization, and SC response were determined via immunohistochemistry. Overall, there was a significant correlation (r = 0.39; P < 0.05) between the expansion of SC content (change in total Pax7+ cells/100 myofibres) 24 h following eccentric exercise and mixed muscle CFPE index. There was a greater increase in activated SCs (MyoD+ /Pax7+ cells) in the High as compared to the Low CFPE group 72 h following eccentric exercise (P < 0.05). The current study provides further evidence that muscle fibre capillarization may play an important role in the activation and expansion of the SC pool during the process of skeletal muscle repair.


  • Nederveen, Joshua P
  • Joanisse, Sophie
  • Snijders, Tim
  • Thomas, Aaron CQ
  • Kumbhare, Dinesh
  • Parise, Gianni

publication date

  • March 15, 2018