Fiber-type transitions and satellite cell activation in low-frequency-stimulated muscles of young and aging rats

Charles T. Putman, Karim R. Sultan, Thomas Wassmer, Jeremy A. Bamford, Dejan Škorjanc, Dirk Pette

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We examined satellite cell content and the activity of satellite cell progeny in tibialis anterior muscles of young (15 weeks) and aging (101 weeks) Brown Norway (BN) rats, after they were exposed for 50 days to a standardized and highly reproducible regime of chronic low-frequency electrical stimulation. Chronic low-frequency electrical stimulation was successful in inducing fast-to-slow fiber-type transformation, characterized by a 2.3-fold increase in the proportion of IIA fibers and fourfold and sevenfold decreases in the proportion of IID/X and IIB fibers in both young and aging BN rats. These changes were accompanied by a twofold increase in the satellite cell content in both the young and aging groups; satellite cell content reached a level that was significantly higher in the young group (p < .04). The total muscle precursor cell content (i.e., satellite cells plus progeny), however, did not differ between groups, because there was a greater number of satellite cell progeny passing through the proliferative and differentiative compartments of the aging group. The resulting 1.5-fold increase in myonuclear content was similar in the young and aging groups. We conclude that satellite cells and satellite cell progeny of aging BN rats possess an unaltered capacity to contribute to the adaptive response.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)B510-B519
Number of pages10
JournalJournals of Gerontology: Series A
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2001


  • reference values
  • inbred BN rats
  • cadherins
  • capillaries
  • cell differentiation
  • cell division
  • cell nucleus
  • immunohistochemistry
  • skeletal muscle
  • fast-twitch muscle fibers
  • slow-twitch muscle fibers


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