44 Citations (Scopus)


AIM: To investigate the influence of lifelong endurance running on the satellite cell pool of type I and type II fibres in healthy human skeletal muscle.

METHODS: Muscle biopsies were collected from 15 healthy old trained men (O-Tr) who had been running 43 ± 16 (mean ± SD) kilometres a week for 28 ± 9 years. Twelve age-matched untrained men (O-Un) and a group of young trained and young untrained men were recruited for comparison. Frozen sections were immunohistochemically stained for Pax7, type I myosin and laminin, from which fibre area, the number of satellite cells, and the relationship between these variables were determined.

RESULTS: In O-Un and O-Tr, type II fibres were smaller and contained fewer satellite cells than type I fibres. However, when expressed relative to fibre area, the difference in satellite cell content between fibre types was eliminated in O-Tr, but not O-Un. A strong positive relationship between fibre size and satellite cell content was detected in trained individuals. In line with a history of myofibre repair, a greater number of fibres with centrally located myonuclei were detected in O-Tr.

CONCLUSION: Lifelong endurance training (i) does not deplete the satellite cell pool and (ii) is associated with a similar density of satellite cells in type I and II fibres despite a failure to preserve the equal fibre type distribution of satellite cells observed in young individuals. Taken together, these data reveal a differential regulation of satellite cell content between fibre types, in young and old healthy men with dramatically different training histories.

Original languageEnglish
JournalActa physiologica (Oxford, England)
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)612-27
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2014


  • Aged
  • Athletes
  • Cell Count
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Fibers, Fast-Twitch
  • Muscle Fibers, Slow-Twitch
  • Physical Endurance
  • Running
  • Satellite Cells, Skeletal Muscle


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