Current evidence indicates that post-embryonic muscle growth and regeneration in amniotes is mediated almost entirely by stem cells derived from muscle progenitor cells (MPCs), known as satellite cells. Exhaustion and impairment of satellite cell activity is involved in the severe muscle loss associated with degenerative muscle diseases such as Muscular Dystrophies and is the main cause of age-associated muscle wasting. Understanding the molecular and cellular basis of satellite cell function in muscle generation and regeneration (myogenesis) is critical to the broader goal of developing treatments that may ameliorate such conditions.
Considerable knowledge exists regarding the embryonic stages of amniote myogenesis. Much less is known about how post-embryonic amniote myogenesis proceeds, how adult myogenesis relates to embryonic myogenesis on a cellular or genetic level. Of the studies focusing on post-embryonic amniote myogenesis, most are post-mortem and in vitro analyses, precluding the understanding of cellular behaviours and genetic mechanisms in an undisturbed in vivo setting. Zebrafish are optically clear throughout much of their post-embryonic development, facilitating their use in live imaging of cellular processes. Zebrafish also possess a compartment of MPCs, which appear similar to satellite cells and persist throughout the post-embryonic development of the fish, permitting their use in examining the contribution of these cells to muscle tissue growth and regeneration.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental Biology
- Cell Biology