Single-fiber isolation and maintenance of satellite cell quiescence
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The activity of satellite cells during myogenesis, development, or skeletal muscle regeneration is strongly modelled using cultures of single muscle fibers. However, there are variations in reported features of gene or protein expression as examined with single-fiber cultures. Here, we examined the potential differences in activation of satellite cells on normal mouse muscle fibers produced during a standard isolation protocol, with or without agitation during collagenase digestion. Activation was detected in satellite cells on fibers after 24 and 48 h of culture in basal growth medium using immunodetection of the incorporation of bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU) into DNA and quantification of the number of BrdU-positive cells per fiber. After 24 and 48 h in culture under nonactivating conditions, the number of activated (BrdU+) satellite cells was greater on fibers that had received gentle agitation during collagenase digestion than on those that were subject to digestion without agitation during isolation. The findings are interpreted to mean that at least some of the variation among published reports may derive from the application of various methods of fiber isolation. The information should be useful for maintaining satellite cell quiescence during studies of the regulatory steps that lead to satellite cell activation.