Cellular mechanisms and local progenitor activation to regulate skeletal muscle mass

J Muscle Res Cell Motil. 2009 Dec;30(7-8):243-53. doi: 10.1007/s10974-010-9204-y. Epub 2010 Mar 2.


Skeletal muscle hypertrophy is a result of increased load, such as functional and stretch-overload. Activation of satellite cells and proliferation, differentiation and fusion are required for hypertrophy of overloaded skeletal muscles. On the contrary, a dramatic loss of skeletal muscle mass determines atrophy settings. The epigenetic changes involved in gene regulation at DNA and chromatin level are critical for the opposing phenomena, muscle growth and atrophy. Physiological properties of skeletal muscle tissue play a fundamental role in health and disease since it is the most abundant tissue in mammals. In fact, protein synthesis and degradation are finely modulated to maintain an appropriate muscle mass. When the molecular signaling is altered muscle wasting and weakness occurred, and this happened in most common inherited and acquired disorders such as muscular dystrophies, cachexia, and age-related wasting. To date, there is no accepted treatment to improve muscle size and strength, and these conditions pose a considerable anxiety to patients as well as to public health. Several molecules, including Magic-F1, myostatin inhibitor, IGF, glucocorticoids and microRNAs are currently investigated to interfere positively in the blueprint of skeletal muscle growth and regeneration.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Atrophy / metabolism
  • Atrophy / pathology
  • Cachexia / metabolism
  • Cachexia / pathology
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology*
  • Cells / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Humans
  • Hypertrophy / metabolism
  • Hypertrophy / pathology
  • Muscle Development*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / cytology*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / pathology
  • Muscles / metabolism
  • Muscular Atrophy / metabolism
  • Muscular Atrophy / pathology
  • Muscular Diseases / metabolism
  • Muscular Diseases / pathology
  • Musculoskeletal System / metabolism
  • Myoblasts / metabolism
  • Myostatin / metabolism
  • Regeneration / physiology
  • Somatomedins / metabolism*


  • Myostatin
  • Somatomedins