Satellite cell-mediated myonuclear accretion is thought to be required for skeletal muscle fiber hypertrophy, and even drive hypertrophy by preceding growth. Recent studies in humans and rodents provide evidence that challenge this axiom. Specifically, Type 2 muscle fibers reliably demonstrate a substantial capacity to hypertrophy in the absence of myonuclear accretion, challenging the notion of a tightly regulated myonuclear domain (i.e., area that each myonucleus transcriptionally governs). In fact, a “myonuclear domain ceiling”, or upper limit of transcriptional output per nucleus to support hypertrophy, has yet to be identified. Satellite cells respond to muscle damage, and also play an important role in extracellular matrix remodeling during loading-induced hypertrophy. We postulate that robust satellite cell activation and proliferation in response to mechanical loading is largely for these purposes. Future work will aim to elucidate the mechanisms by which Type 2 fibers can hypertrophy without additional myonuclei, the extent to which Type 1 fibers can grow without myonuclear accretion, and whether a true myonuclear domain ceiling exists.

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Published in Frontiers in Physiology, v. 9, article 635, p. 1-7.

Copyright © 2018 Murach, Englund, Dupont-Versteegden, McCarthy and Peterson.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

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This work was supported by National Institutes of Health grants AR071753 (to KM), AR60701 and AG049806, (to CP and JM), and AT009268 (ED-V).