Testosterone-induced muscle hypertrophy is associated with an increase in satellite cell number in healthy, young men

Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2003 Jul;285(1):E197-205. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.00370.2002. Epub 2003 Apr 1.

Abstract

Testosterone (T) supplementation in men induces muscle fiber hypertrophy. We hypothesized that T-induced increase in muscle fiber size is associated with a dose-dependent increase in satellite cell number. We quantitated satellite cell and myonuclear number by using direct counting and spatial orientation methods in biopsies of vastus lateralis obtained at baseline and after 20 wk of treatment with a gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonist and a 125-, 300-, or 600-mg weekly dose of T enanthate. T administration was associated with a significant increase in myonuclear number in men receiving 300- and 600-mg doses. The posttreatment percent satellite cell number, obtained by direct counting, differed significantly among the three groups (ANCOVA P < 0.000001); the mean posttreatment values (5.0 and 15.0%) in men treated with 300- and 600-mg doses were greater than baseline (2.5 and 2.5%, respectively, P < 0.05 vs. baseline). The absolute satellite cell number measured by spatial orientation at 20 wk (1.5 and 4.0/mm) was significantly greater than baseline (0.3 and 0.6/mm) in men receiving the 300- and 600-mg doses (P < 0.05). The change in percent satellite cell number correlated with changes in total (r = 0.548) and free T concentrations (r = 0.468). Satellite cell and mitochondrial areas were significantly higher and the nuclear-to-cytoplasmic ratio lower after treatment with 300- and 600-mg doses. We conclude that T-induced muscle fiber hypertrophy is associated with an increase in satellite cell number, a proportionate increase in myonuclear number, and changes in satellite cell ultrastructure.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cell Count
  • Cell Nucleus / drug effects
  • Cell Size / drug effects
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Muscle Fibers, Fast-Twitch / physiology
  • Muscle Fibers, Fast-Twitch / ultrastructure
  • Muscle, Skeletal / cytology*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / drug effects
  • Muscle, Skeletal / growth & development*
  • Satellite Cells, Skeletal Muscle / drug effects*
  • Testosterone / analogs & derivatives*
  • Testosterone / blood
  • Testosterone / pharmacology
  • Testosterone / physiology*
  • Tissue Fixation

Substances

  • Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone
  • Testosterone
  • testosterone enanthate