Assessment of satellite cell number and activity status in human skeletal muscle biopsies

Abigail Louise Mackey, Michael Kjær, Nadia Charifi, Jan Henriksson, J. Bojsen-Moller, Lars Holm, Fawzi Kadi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

107 Citations (Scopus)


The primary aim of our study was to validate the assessment of myonuclear and satellite cell number in biopsies from human skeletal muscle. We found that 25 type I and 25 type II fibers are sufficient to estimate the mean number of myonuclei per fiber. In contrast, the assessment of satellite cells improved when more fibers were included. Second, we report that small differences in counting satellite cells using CD56 and Pax7 antibodies can be attributed to the different staining profiles. Third, we provide support for the use of Ki67 in evaluating the proportion of active satellite cells. We observed very few (up to 1.3%) active satellite cells in healthy adult skeletal muscle at rest, but they increased significantly (up to 7-fold) following muscle activity. This study provides valuable tools to assess the behavior of satellite cells, both in pathological conditions and in response to physiological stimuli.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)455-465
Number of pages11
JournalMuscle & Nerve
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2009

Bibliographical note

Keywords: Adult; Antigens, CD56; Biopsy; Cell Count; Cell Proliferation; Exercise; Humans; Indoles; Ki-67 Antigen; Muscle Fibers, Skeletal; Muscle, Skeletal; Neural Cell Adhesion Molecules; PAX7 Transcription Factor; Satellite Cells, Skeletal Muscle; Time Factors; Weight Lifting; Young Adult


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