Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Satellite cells are myogenic precursors that proliferate, activate, and differentiate on muscle injury to sustain the regenerative capacity of adult skeletal muscle; in this process, they self-renew through the return to quiescence of the cycling progeny. This mechanism, while efficient in physiological conditions does not prevent exhaustion of satellite cells in pathologies such as muscular dystrophy where numerous rounds of damage occur. Here, we describe a key role of nitric oxide, an important signaling molecule in adult skeletal muscle, on satellite cells maintenance, studied ex vivo on isolated myofibers and in vivo using the α-sarcoglycan null mouse model of dystrophy and a cardiotoxin-induced model of repetitive damage. Nitric oxide stimulated satellite cells proliferation in a pathway dependent on cGMP generation. Furthermore, it increased the number of Pax7(+)/Myf5(-) cells in a cGMP-independent pathway requiring enhanced expression of Vangl2, a member of the planar cell polarity pathway involved in the Wnt noncanonical pathway. The enhanced self-renewal ability of satellite cells induced by nitric oxide is sufficient to delay the reduction of the satellite cell pool during repetitive acute and chronic damages, favoring muscle regeneration; in the α-sarcoglycan null dystrophic mouse, it also slowed disease progression persistently. These results identify nitric oxide as a key messenger in satellite cells maintenance, expand the significance of the Vangl2-dependent Wnt noncanonical pathway in myogenesis, and indicate novel strategies to optimize nitric oxide-based therapies for muscular dystrophy.

Original publication




Journal article


Stem Cells

Publication Date





197 - 209


Animals, Cell Differentiation, Cell Proliferation, Cells, Cultured, Cyclic GMP, Female, Gene Expression Regulation, Mice, Mice, 129 Strain, Molsidomine, Muscle Development, Muscle, Skeletal, Muscular Dystrophies, Nerve Tissue Proteins, Nitric Oxide, Nitric Oxide Donors, Regeneration, Satellite Cells, Skeletal Muscle, Signal Transduction