Impaired regeneration of dystrophin-deficient muscle fibers is caused by exhaustion of myogenic cells

Braz J Med Biol Res. 2002 Jun;35(6):691-5. doi: 10.1590/s0100-879x2002000600009.


Duchenne muscular dystrophy is one of the most devastating myopathies. Muscle fibers undergo necrosis and lose their ability to regenerate, and this may be related to increased interstitial fibrosis or the exhaustion of satellite cells. In this study, we used mdx mice, an animal model of Duchenne muscular dystrophy, to assess whether muscle fibers lose their ability to regenerate after repeated cycles of degeneration-regeneration and to establish the role of interstitial fibrosis or exhaustion of satellite cells in this process. Repeated degenerative-regenerative cycles were induced by the injection of bupivacaine (33 mg/kg), a myotoxic agent. Bupivacaine was injected weekly into the right tibialis anterior muscle of male, 8-week-old mdx (N = 20) and C57Bl/10 (control, N = 10) mice for 20 and 50 weeks. Three weeks after the last injection, the mice were killed and the proportion of regenerated fibers was counted and reported as a fibrosis index. Twenty weekly bupivacaine injections did not change the ability of mdx muscle to regenerate. However, after 50 weekly bupivacaine injections, there was a significant decrease in the regenerative response. There was no correlation between the inability to regenerate and the increase in interstitial fibrosis. These results show that after prolonged repeated cycles of degeneration-regeneration, mdx muscle loses its ability to regenerate because of the exhaustion of satellite cells, rather than because of an increase in interstitial fibrosis. This finding may be relevant to cell and gene therapy in the treatment of Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anesthetics, Local / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Bupivacaine / pharmacology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred mdx
  • Muscle Fibers, Skeletal
  • Muscle, Skeletal / drug effects
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Muscular Dystrophy, Animal / physiopathology
  • Muscular Dystrophy, Duchenne / physiopathology*
  • Regeneration / drug effects
  • Regeneration / physiology*


  • Anesthetics, Local
  • Bupivacaine