The role of satellite cells in muscle hypertrophy

J Muscle Res Cell Motil. 2014 Feb;35(1):3-10. doi: 10.1007/s10974-014-9376-y. Epub 2014 Feb 7.


The role of satellite cells in muscle hypertrophy has long been a debated issue. In the late 1980s it was shown that proteins remain close to the myonucleus responsible for its synthesis, giving rise to the idea of a nuclear domain. This, together with the observation that during various models of muscle hypertrophy there is an activation of the muscle stem cells, i.e. satellite cells, lead to the idea that satellite cell activation is required for muscle hypertrophy. Thus, satellite cells are not only responsible for muscle repair and regeneration, but also for hypertrophic growth. Further support for this line of thinking was obtained after studies showing that irradiation of skeletal muscle, and therefore elimination of all satellite cells, completely prevented overload-induced hypertrophy. Recently however, using different transgenic approaches, it has become clear that muscle hypertrophy can occur without a contribution of satellite cells, even though in most situations of muscle hypertrophy satellite cells are activated. In this review we will discuss the contribution of satellite cells, and other muscle-resident stem cells, to muscle hypertrophy both in mice as well as in humans.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Growth Processes / physiology
  • Humans
  • Hypertrophy
  • Mice
  • Muscle, Skeletal / pathology*
  • Satellite Cells, Skeletal Muscle / pathology*