Defining and identifying satellite cell-opathies within muscular dystrophies and myopathies

Exp Cell Res. 2022 Feb 1;411(1):112906. doi: 10.1016/j.yexcr.2021.112906. Epub 2021 Nov 3.


Muscular dystrophies and congenital myopathies arise from specific genetic mutations causing skeletal muscle weakness that reduces quality of life. Muscle health relies on resident muscle stem cells called satellite cells, which enable life-course muscle growth, maintenance, repair and regeneration. Such tuned plasticity gradually diminishes in muscle diseases, suggesting compromised satellite cell function. A central issue however, is whether the pathogenic mutation perturbs satellite cell function directly and/or indirectly via an increasingly hostile microenvironment as disease progresses. Here, we explore the effects on satellite cell function of pathogenic mutations in genes (myopathogenes) that associate with muscle disorders, to evaluate clinical and muscle pathological hallmarks that define dysfunctional satellite cells. We deploy transcriptomic analysis and comparison between muscular dystrophies and myopathies to determine the contribution of satellite cell dysfunction using literature, expression dynamics of myopathogenes and their response to the satellite cell regulator PAX7. Our multimodal approach extends current pathological classifications to define Satellite Cell-opathies: muscle disorders in which satellite cell dysfunction contributes to pathology. Primary Satellite Cell-opathies are conditions where mutations in a myopathogene directly affect satellite cell function, such as in Progressive Congenital Myopathy with Scoliosis (MYOSCO) and Carey-Fineman-Ziter Syndrome (CFZS). Primary satellite cell-opathies are generally characterised as being congenital with general hypotonia, and specific involvement of respiratory, trunk and facial muscles, although serum CK levels are usually within the normal range. Secondary Satellite Cell-opathies have mutations in myopathogenes that affect both satellite cells and muscle fibres. Such classification aids diagnosis and predicting probable disease course, as well as informing on treatment and therapeutic development.

Keywords: Congenital myopathy; Muscle stem cell; Muscular dystrophy; Myopathogene; PAX7; Satellite Cell-opathy; Satellite cell; Skeletal muscle.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers / analysis*
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Humans
  • Muscular Diseases / genetics
  • Muscular Diseases / pathology*
  • Muscular Dystrophies / genetics
  • Muscular Dystrophies / pathology*
  • Mutation*
  • PAX7 Transcription Factor / genetics*
  • Satellite Cells, Skeletal Muscle / metabolism
  • Satellite Cells, Skeletal Muscle / pathology*


  • Biomarkers
  • PAX7 Transcription Factor
  • PAX7 protein, human