, Volume 250, Issue 1, pp 141-148

Reutilisation of tritiated thymidine in studies of regenerating skeletal muscle

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Summary

Two different aspects of tritiated thymidine (3H-Tdr) reutilisation in skeletal muscle were examined. Injection of a high dose (7 μCi/g) of 3H-Tdr into mice prior to crush injury of skeletal muscle resulted in heavy labelling (grain counts) of myotube nuclei 9 d later. In contrast, myotube nuclei were essentially unlabelled when a low dose (1 μCi/g) of 3H-Tdr was injected at similar times with respect to injury. It was concluded that labelling seen after the high dose was due to reutilisation of 3H-Tdr. (Such 3H-Tdr reutilisation can account for the results of Sloper et al. (1970) which previously supported the concept of a circulating muscle precursor cell.) When replicating muscle precursors were labelled directly with 3H-Tdr 48 h after injury, the percentages of labelled myotube nuclei and the distribution of nuclear grain counts were similar with either high or low dose.

We also investigated whether the light labelling seen in regenerated myotube nuclei after 9 d, when 3H-Tdr had been injected before the onset of myogenesis (as found by McGeachie and Grounds 1987), was due to 3H-Tdr reutilisation or, alternatively, to proliferation of local cells in the wound which subsequently gave rise to muscle precursors. Labelling of myotube nuclei was compared in mice injected with 3H-Tdr either 2 h before, or 2 h after injury. In another experiment, mice were injected 12 h after injury and lesions sampled 1, 12 or 36 h later, to see whether local cells were replicating 12 h after injury, and what labelled cells subsequently entered to wound. No difference was found in myotube labelling between mice injected before or after injury, and no cells replicating locally in the wound at 12 h after injury were observed. The results clearly show that the light labelling was due to 3H-Tdr reutilisation.