Isolation of muscle stem cells from rat skeletal muscles

Stem Cell Res. 2020 Mar;43:101684. doi: 10.1016/j.scr.2019.101684. Epub 2019 Dec 10.


Muscle stem cells (MuSCs) are involved in homeostatic maintenance of skeletal muscle and play a central role in muscle regeneration in response to injury. Thus, understanding MuSC autonomous properties is of fundamental importance for studies of muscle degenerative diseases and muscle plasticity. Rat, as an animal model, has been widely used in the skeletal muscle field, however rat MuSC isolation through fluorescence-activated cell sorting has never been described. This work validates a protocol for effective MuSC isolation from rat skeletal muscles. Tibialis anterior was harvested from female rats and digested for isolation of MuSCs. Three protocols, employing different cell surface markers (CD106, CD56, and CD29), were compared for their ability to isolate a highly enriched MuSC population. Cells isolated using only CD106 as a positive marker showed high expression of Pax7, ability to progress through myogenic lineage while in culture, and complete differentiation in serum-deprived conditions. The protocol was further validated in gastrocnemius, diaphragm, and the individual components of the pelvic floor muscle complex (coccygeus, iliocaudalis, and pubocaudalis), proving to be reproducible. CD106 is an efficient marker for reliable isolation of MuSCs from a variety of rat skeletal muscles.

Keywords: CD106; Flow cytometry; Muscle stem cells; Pelvic floor muscles; Rat.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Female
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism*
  • Rats
  • Stem Cells / metabolism*