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Satellite cells may be involved in muscle repair in horses after intense exercise

M. Kawai, H. Aida, A. Hiraga, H. Miyata

MUSCLE repair and regeneration following injury or hypertrophy after training are largely dependent on the action of muscle satellite cells to activate, proliferate and terminally differentiate. This Japanese study investigated the response of satellite cells in horse muscles after running to exhaustion and the expression of factors involved in tissue regeneration and repair, including interleukin (IL)-6, the production of which is elevated during exercise.

Nine clinically healthy thoroughbred horses, aged three to six year old, were acclimatised to exercise on a treadmill, and the speed increased until the horse could no longer maintain its position at the front of the treadmill. Muscle tissue was biopsied before exercise and at one minute, three hours, one day, three days, one week and two weeks after exercise.

No obvious damage to the muscle fibres (type I, IIa, IIa/x or IIx) was seen by immunohistochemical staining analysis after running to exhaustion. The number of satellite cells per muscle fibre-type, determined by immunofluorescence staining, increased significantly …

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