The consumption of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) is widespread among athletes when faced with muscle soreness or injury, but the effects of NSAIDs on satellite cell activity in humans are unknown. To investigate this, 14 healthy male endurance athletes (mean peak oxygen consumption 62 ml x kg(-1) x min(-1)) volunteered for the study, which involved running 36 km. They were divided into two groups and received either 100 mg indomethacin per day or placebo. Muscle biopsies collected before the run and on days 1, 3, and 8 afterward were analyzed for satellite cells by immunohistochemistry with the aid of neural cell adhesion molecule (NCAM) and fetal antigen-1 (FA1) antibodies. Muscle biopsies were also collected from untrained individuals for comparison. Compared with preexercise levels, a 27% increase in the number of NCAM+ cells was observed on day 8 postexercise in the placebo group (P < 0.05), while levels remained similar at all time points in the NSAID group. No change was seen in the proportion of FA1+ cells, although lower levels were found in the muscle of endurance-trained athletes compared with untrained individuals (P < 0.05). These results suggest that ingestion of anti-inflammatory drugs attenuates the exercise-induced increase in satellite cell number, supporting the role of the cyclooxygenase pathway in satellite cell activity.