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Adult skeletal muscle tissue harbors a stem cell population that is indispensable for its ability to regenerate. Upon muscle damage, muscle stem cells leave their quiescent state and activate the myogenic program ultimately leading to the repair of damaged tissue concomitant with the replenishment of the muscle stem cell pool. Various factors influence muscle stem cell activity, among them intrinsic stimuli but also signals from the direct muscle stem cell environment, the stem cell niche. The isolation and culture of single myofibers with their associated muscle stem cells preserves most of the interaction of the stem cell with its niche and is, therefore, the closest possibility to study muscle stem cell functionality ex vivo. Here, a protocol for the isolation, culture, siRNA transfection and immunostaining of muscle stem cells on their respective myofibers from mouse EDL (extensor digitorum longus) muscles is provided. The experimental conditions outlined here allow the study and manipulation of muscle stem cells ex vivo including investigation of myogenic activity without the inherent need for in vivo animal experiments.


Sören S Hüttner, Christian Hayn, Hellen E Ahrens, Manuel Schmidt, Henriette Henze, Julia von Maltzahn. Single Myofiber Culture Assay for the Assessment of Adult Muscle Stem Cell Functionality Ex Vivo. Journal of visualized experiments : JoVE. 2021 Feb 15(168)

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PMID: 33645580

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