The remarkable regeneration capability of skeletal muscle depends on the coordinated proliferation and differentiation of satellite cells (SCs). The self-renewal of SCs is critical for long-term maintenance of muscle regeneration potential. Hypoxia profoundly affects the proliferation, differentiation, and self-renewal of cultured myoblasts. However, the physiological relevance of hypoxia and hypoxia signaling in SCs in vivo remains largely unknown. Here, we demonstrate that SCs are in an intrinsic hypoxic state in vivo and express hypoxia-inducible factor 2A (HIF2A). HIF2A promotes the stemness and long-term homeostatic maintenance of SCs by maintaining their quiescence, increasing their self-renewal, and blocking their myogenic differentiation. HIF2A stabilization in SCs cultured under normoxia augments their engraftment potential in regenerative muscle. Conversely, HIF2A ablation leads to the depletion of SCs and their consequent regenerative failure in the long-term. In contrast, transient pharmacological inhibition of HIF2A accelerates muscle regeneration by increasing SC proliferation and differentiation. Mechanistically, HIF2A induces the quiescence and self-renewal of SCs by binding the promoter of the Spry1 gene and activating Spry1 expression. These findings suggest that HIF2A is a pivotal mediator of hypoxia signaling in SCs and may be therapeutically targeted to improve muscle regeneration.
Keywords: Adult stem cells; Muscle Biology; Skeletal muscle; Stem cells.