Journal of Muscle Research and Cell Motility

, Volume 33, Issue 3–4, pp 187–198

Current evidence that exercise can increase the number of adult stem cells

EMC2012 Special Issue - Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10974-012-9302-0

Cite this article as:
Macaluso, F. & Myburgh, K.H. J Muscle Res Cell Motil (2012) 33: 187. doi:10.1007/s10974-012-9302-0


The number of adult stem cells (ASCs) is very small, limiting the regenerative potential of tissues. One of the most studied ASCs in humans is the satellite cell (SC), which proliferates and increases pool size under exercise stress and muscle damage. This review examines the growth factor response to specific types of exercise to show the potential of exercise to stimulate not only SC self-renewal, but also other ASCs. We postulate that the same factors that stimulate a high proliferation of SCs in skeletal muscle after physical exercise should also stimulate the proliferation of ASCs in the tissue in which they reside, such as heart, bone, liver and etc. Regular exercise should be promoted, not only for disease prevention, but to maintain a high ASCs reserve and progenitor cell potential for rapid activation in response to future stressors and damage.


Niche Self-renewal Tissue repair Satellite cell Endurance training Resistance training 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dipartimento di Biomedicina Sperimentale e Neuroscienze ClinicheUniversità di PalermoPalermoItaly
  2. 2.Department of Physiological SciencesStellenbosch UniversityStellenboschSouth Africa

Personalised recommendations