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Primary rat muscle progenitor cells have decreased proliferation and myotube formation during passages


  • Present address: Exercise Biology Program, UC-Davis, One Shields Ave, Davis, CA 95616, USA.

Dr Frank W. Booth, Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Missouri-Columbia, E102 Veterinary Medical Building, 1600 East Rollins Road, Columbia, MO 65211, USA. Tel.: 573 882 6652; Fax: 573 884 6890; E-mail:


Abstract.  Adult skeletal muscle contains populations of satellite cells and muscle-derived stem cells that are capable of forming multinucleate myotubes. The purpose of this study was to determine the phenotype of cells isolated from a common satellite cell isolation and passaging procedure from whole skeletal muscle. To ascertain the characteristics of the cellular phenotype, the myogenic markers MyoD and desmin, the satellite-cell-specific marker Pax7, and the haemopoietic stem cell markers CD34 and CD45 were examined by immunohistochemical analysis. Immediately after isolation, > 90% myogenic marker-positive cells were positive for desmin, MyoD and Pax7. In contrast, ∼10% of the isolated cells expressed only CD34 or CD45. After three passages, the percentage of cells that were positive for the myogenic markers desmin, MyoD and Pax7 was reduced to ∼55%, while the population of CD34- or CD45-positive cells increased to ∼30% after the third passage. Immunohistochemical detection of bromodeoxyuridine demonstrated that the number of proliferating cells decreased progressively after each passaging. Finally, after the third passage the percentage of nuclei in myotubes decreased from 46.7% to 12.5%. Since passaging of muscle progenitor cells is common practice, the results of the current report suggest that characterization of cell heterogeneity needs to be made frequently.