Desmin-lacZ transgene expression and regeneration within skeletal muscle transplants
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The purpose of this study was to investigate the initiation and time course of the regeneration process in fragments of skeletal muscle transplants as a function of muscle tissue age at implantation. The appearance of desmin occurs at the very beginning of myogenesis. The transgenic desminnls lacZ mice used in the study bear a transgene in which the 1 kb DNA 5′ regulatory sequence of the desmin gene is linked to a reporter gene coding for Escherichia coliβ-galactosidase. The desmin lacZ transgene labels muscle cells in which the desmin synthesis programme has commenced. We implanted pectoralis muscle fragments from fetal transgenic embryos and mature and old transgenic mice into mature non-transgenic mice. Early events of myogenesis occurring during regeneration started sooner in transplants from 4-month-old (day 3 post-implantation) muscle than in those from 24-month-old (day 5-6 post-implantation) muscle, and they lasted longer in those from young (day 17 post-implantation) than in those from old (day 14 post-implantation) muscle fragments. In adult muscle, transgene activation proceeded from the periphery toward the centre of the transplant. In transplants from fetal 18-day-old pectoralis, myotubes with transgene activity were observed from day 1 to day 19. Desmin immunoreactivity, which appeared about one day after transgene activation, was followed by myosin expression. In adult transplants, the continuity of laminin labelling was disrupted around degenerative fibres, illustrating alteration of the extracellular matrix. Our data suggest that satellite cells from old muscle tissue have lower proliferative capacity and/or less access to trophic substances released by the host (damaged fibres, vascularization) than those from fetal or young adult muscle
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