Concomitant increases in myonuclear and satellite cell content in female trapezius muscle following strength training

Histochem Cell Biol. 2000 Feb;113(2):99-103. doi: 10.1007/s004180050012.


A skeletal muscle fibre maintains its cytoplasmic volume by means of hundreds of myonuclei distributed along its entire length. Therefore it is hypothesised that changes in fibre size would involve modifications in myonuclear number. In this study, we have examined whether 10 weeks of strength training can induce changes in the number of myonuclei and satellite cells in female trapezius muscles. Biopsies were taken pre- and posttraining from the upper part of the descending trapezius muscle of nine subjects. Muscle samples were analysed for fibre area and myonuclear and satellite cell number using immunohistochemistry. There was a 36% increase in the cross-sectional area of muscle fibres. The hypertrophy of muscle fibres was accompanied by an approximately 70% increase in myonuclear number and a 46% increase in the number of satellite cells. Myonuclei number was positively correlated to satellite cell number indicating that a muscle with an increased concentration of myonuclei will contain a correspondingly higher number of satellite cells. The acquisition of additional myonuclei appears to be required to support the enlargement of multinucleated muscle cells following 10 weeks of strength training. Increased satellite cell content suggests that mitotic divisions of satellite cells produced daughter cells that became satellite cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • CD56 Antigen / immunology
  • CD56 Antigen / metabolism
  • Cell Count
  • Coloring Agents
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Hematoxylin
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Muscle Fibers, Skeletal / cytology
  • Muscle Fibers, Skeletal / physiology
  • Muscle Fibers, Skeletal / ultrastructure
  • Muscle, Skeletal / cytology*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / ultrastructure
  • Shoulder


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • CD56 Antigen
  • Coloring Agents
  • Hematoxylin