Molecular and functional heterogeneity of early postnatal porcine satellite cell populations is associated with bioenergetic profile

Sci Rep. 2017 Mar 27;7:45052. doi: 10.1038/srep45052.


During postnatal development, hyperplastic and hypertrophic processes of skeletal muscle growth depend on the activation, proliferation, differentiation, and fusion of satellite cells (SC). Therefore, molecular and functional SC heterogeneity is an important component of muscle plasticity and will greatly affect long-term growth performance and muscle health. However, its regulation by cell intrinsic and extrinsic factors is far from clear. In particular, there is only minor information on the early postnatal period which is critical for muscle maturation and the establishment of adult SC pools. Here, we separated two SC subpopulations (P40/50, P50/70) from muscle of 4-day-old piglets. Our results characterize P40/50 as homogeneous population of committed (high expression of Myf5), fast-proliferating muscle progenitors. P50/70 constituted a slow-proliferating phenotype and contains high numbers of differentiated SC progeny. During culture, P50/70 is transformed to a population with lower differentiation potential that contains 40% Pax7-positive cells. A reversible state of low mitochondrial activity that results from active down-regulation of ATP-synthase is associated with the transition of some of the P50/70 cells to this more primitive fate typical for a reserve cell population. We assume that P40/50 and P50/70 subpopulations contribute unequally in the processes of myofiber growth and maintenance of the SC pool.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Energy Metabolism*
  • Mitochondria, Muscle / metabolism*
  • Mitochondrial Proton-Translocating ATPases / genetics
  • Mitochondrial Proton-Translocating ATPases / metabolism
  • Myogenic Regulatory Factor 5 / genetics
  • Myogenic Regulatory Factor 5 / metabolism
  • PAX7 Transcription Factor / genetics
  • PAX7 Transcription Factor / metabolism
  • Satellite Cells, Skeletal Muscle / cytology
  • Satellite Cells, Skeletal Muscle / metabolism*
  • Swine


  • Myogenic Regulatory Factor 5
  • PAX7 Transcription Factor
  • Mitochondrial Proton-Translocating ATPases