Skeletal muscle explants: ex-vivo models to study cellular behavior in a complex tissue environment

Connect Tissue Res. 2020 May-Jul;61(3-4):248-261. doi: 10.1080/03008207.2019.1662409. Epub 2019 Sep 6.


Purpose/Aim: Skeletal muscle tissue explants have been cultured and studied for nearly 100 years. These cultures, which retain complex tissue structure in an environment suited to precision manipulation and measurement, have led to seminal discoveries of the extrinsic and intrinsic mechanisms regulating contractility, metabolism and regeneration. This review discusses the two primary models of muscle explant: isolated myofiber and intact muscle.Materials and Methods: Relevant literature was reviewed and synthesized with a focus on the unique challenges and capabilities of each explant model.Results: Impactful past, current and future novel applications are discussed.Conclusions: Experiments using skeletal muscle explants have been integral to our understanding of the fundamentals of muscle physiology. As they are refined and adapted, they are poised to continue to inform the field for years to come.

Keywords: Isolated myofiber; ex-vivo stimulation; in-vitro culture; intact muscle; satellite cell.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review
  • Video-Audio Media

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation*
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / pathology
  • Regeneration*
  • Satellite Cells, Skeletal Muscle / metabolism*
  • Satellite Cells, Skeletal Muscle / pathology