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Sustained cell proliferation in denervated skeletal muscle of mice

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Cellular proliferation in skeletal muscle was measured throughout the first 4 weeks after denervation. Twenty four mice had one leg denervated, and 4 groups of 6 of these mice were injected with tritiated thymidine once daily for 7 days, either during the first, second, third or fourth week after denervation. Autoradiographic labelling of muscle and connective tissue nuclei in denervated muscles was compared with innervated muscles from the opposite innervated legs of the same mice. Labelling of connective tissue and muscle (myonuclear and satellite cell) nuclei was significantly higher in denervated muscles, compared with innervated muscles on the unoperated side. There were no significant differences among labelling of nuclei in muscles denervated for 1, 2, 3 or 4 weeks. However, connective tissue labelling after 1 week of denervation was significantly higher than at later times. This study shows that nuclei of muscle and connective tissue cells proliferate and turnover at high levels for at least one month after denervation.

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McGeachie, J.K. Sustained cell proliferation in denervated skeletal muscle of mice. Cell Tissue Res. 257, 455–457 (1989).

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Key words

  • Skeletal muscle
  • Denervation
  • Cell proliferation
  • Tritiated thymidine
  • Autoradiography
  • vMouse (BALBc)