The Role of Satellite Cells and Stem Cells in Muscle Regeneration



Muscle satellite cells are localized on muscle fibers under the basal lamina and are responsible for postnatal muscle growth and repair. Satellite cells exit from the cell cycle and remain quiescent to maintain the satellite cell pool in resting muscle. Following injury or exercise, satellite cells receive activation signals from their niche and re-enter the cell cycle to regenerate the nascent muscle. Recently, it has been shown that satellite cells are heterogeneous and a subpopulation of satellite cells have stem cell properties such as the ability of self-renewal, asymmetric division, and the capacity of differentiation. These stem cell properties are tightly regulated by the microenvironment surrounding the satellite cell niche in resting and injured muscles. Accumulated evidence has revealed that inflammatory, growth, Wnt, and Notch signaling from the niche controls satellite cell quiescence, activation, self-renewal, differentiation, asymmetric division, and aging. Moreover, satellite cells uniformly express the transcription factor Pax7 and the transcriptional hierarchy during satellite cell differentiation is elucidated by the phenotypic analysis of myogenic regulatory factor knockout mice. On the other hand, recent studies have identified the stem cell fraction from the heterogenic fraction of satellite cells and have identified other muscle-resident stem cells. The generation of iPS cells and studies on the differentiation of ES cells to muscle provide us an alternative resource for treatment of muscle degenerative diseases. In this chapter, we describe the stem cell characteristics of satellite cells and the molecular regulation of satellite cells by their niche during muscle growth and repair. In addition, we discuss the therapeutic potential of satellite cells, as well as other muscle-resident stem cells, possible drugs, and iPS/ES cells in the application health and disease.


Satellite Cell Notch Signaling Adult Stem Cell Extensor Digitorum Longus Muscle Regeneration 





Extensor digitorum longus


Embryonic stem


Fluorescent activating cell sorting


Fibroblast growth factor


Green fluorescent protein


Hepatocyte growth factor


Insulin-like growth factor




Induced pluripotent stem


Kilo base


Leukemia inhibitory factor


Stem cell antigen-1


Transforming growth factor


Tumor necrosis factor


Yellow fluorescent protein



We thank Johnathan Smid, Feodor Price, and Yuichi Tomita for discussion and careful reading of the manuscript. We acknowledge the results included and omitted (only due to space consideration) in this chapter of investigators who have contributed to this field.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Regenerative Medicine ProgramOttawa Hospital Research InstituteOttawaCanada
  2. 2.Department of Cellular Molecular Medicine, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of OttawaOttawaCanada
  3. 3.The Sprott Stem Cell Centre, Regenerative Medicine ProgramOttawa Hospital Research InstituteOttawaCanada
  4. 4.Department of Cellular Molecular Medicine, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of OttawaOttawaCanada

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