Regulation of Skeletal Muscle Satellite Cell Differentiation by Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids: A Critical Review

Front Physiol. 2021 Jun 3:12:682091. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2021.682091. eCollection 2021.


Skeletal muscle is composed of multinuclear cells called myofibres, which are formed by the fusion of myoblasts during development. The size of the muscle fiber and mass of skeletal muscle are altered in response to several pathological and physiological conditions. Skeletal muscle regeneration is primarily mediated by muscle stem cells called satellite cells (SCs). In response to injury, these SCs replenish myogenic progenitor cells to form new myofibers to repair damaged muscle. During myogenesis, activated SCs proliferate and differentiate to myoblast and then fuse with one another to form muscle fibers. A reduced number of SCs and an inability to undergo myogenesis may contribute to skeletal muscle disorders such as atrophy, cachexia, and sarcopenia. Myogenic regulatory factors (MRF) are transcription factors that regulate myogenesis and determines whether SCs will be in the quiescent, activated, committed, or differentiated state. Mitochondria oxidative phosphorylation and oxidative stress play a role in the determination of the fate of SCs. The potential activation and function of SCs are also affected by inflammation during skeletal muscle regeneration. Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) show promise to reduce inflammation, maintain muscle mass during aging, and increase the functional capacity of the muscle. The aim of this critical review is to highlight the role of omega-3 PUFAs on the myogenic differentiation of SCs and pathways affected during the differentiation process, including mitochondrial function and inflammation from the current body of literature.

Keywords: inflammation; myogenesis; omega-3; satellite cell; skeletal muscle.

Publication types

  • Review