Cell and Tissue Research

, Volume 354, Issue 3, pp 671–682 | Cite as

Are cultured human myotubes far from home?

  • Vigdis Aas
  • Siril S. Bakke
  • Yuan Z. Feng
  • Eili Tranheim Kase
  • Jørgen Jensen
  • Sudip Bajpeyi
  • G. Hege Thoresen
  • Arild C. Rustan


Satellite cells can be isolated from skeletal muscle biopsies, activated to proliferating myoblasts and differentiated into multinuclear myotubes in culture. These cell cultures represent a model system for intact human skeletal muscle and can be modulated ex vivo. The advantages of this system are that the most relevant genetic background is available for the investigation of human disease (as opposed to rodent cell cultures), the extracellular environment can be precisely controlled and the cells are not immortalized, thereby offering the possibility of studying innate characteristics of the donor. Limitations in differentiation status (fiber type) of the cells and energy metabolism can be improved by proper treatment, such as electrical pulse stimulation to mimic exercise. This review focuses on the way that human myotubes can be employed as a tool for studying metabolism in skeletal muscles, with special attention to changes in muscle energy metabolism in obesity and type 2 diabetes.


Skeletal muscle cells Energy metabolism Insulin resistance Type 2 diabetes Obesity 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vigdis Aas
    • 1
  • Siril S. Bakke
    • 2
  • Yuan Z. Feng
    • 2
  • Eili Tranheim Kase
    • 2
  • Jørgen Jensen
    • 3
  • Sudip Bajpeyi
    • 5
  • G. Hege Thoresen
    • 2
    • 4
  • Arild C. Rustan
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Laboratory Science, Faculty of Health SciencesOslo and Akershus University College of Applied SciencesOsloNorway
  2. 2.Department of Pharmaceutical Biosciences, School of PharmacyUniversity of OsloOsloNorway
  3. 3.Norwegian School of Sport SciencesOsloNorway
  4. 4.Department of Pharmacology, Institute of Clinical Medicine, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of Oslo and Oslo University HospitalOsloNorway
  5. 5.University of Texas at El PasoEl PasoUSA

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