Loss of myogenic potential and fusion capacity of muscle stem cells isolated from contractured muscle in children with cerebral palsy

Andrea A. Domenighetti*, Margie A. Mathewson, Rajeswari Pichika, Lydia A. Sibley, Leyna Zhao, Henry G. Chambers, Richard L. Lieber

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Cerebral palsy (CP) is the most common cause of pediatric neurodevelopmental and physical disability in the United States. It is defined as a group of motor disorders caused by a nonprogressive perinatal insult to the brain. Although the brain lesion is nonprogressive, there is a progressive, lifelong impact on skeletal muscles, which are shorter, spastic, and may develop debilitating contractures. Satellite cells are resident muscle stem cells that are indispensable for postnatal growth and regeneration of skeletal muscles. Here we measured the myogenic potential of satellite cells isolated from contractured muscles in children with CP. When compared with typically developing (TD) children, satellite cell-derived myoblasts from CP differentiated more slowly (slope: 0.013 (SD 0.013) CP vs. 0.091 (SD 0.024) TD over 24 h, P < 0.001) and fused less (fusion index: 21.3 (SD 8.6) CP vs. 81.3 (SD 7.7) TD after 48 h, P < 0.001) after exposure to low-serum conditions that stimulated myotube formation. This impairment was associated with downregulation of several markers important for myoblast fusion and myotube formation, including DNA methylation-dependent inhibition of promyogenic integrin-β 1D (ITGB1D) protein expression levels (–50% at 42 h), and ~25% loss of integrin-mediated focal adhesion kinase phosphorylation. The cytidine analog 5-Azacytidine (5-AZA), a demethylating agent, restored ITGB1D levels and promoted myogenesis in CP cultures. Our data demonstrate that muscle contractures in CP are associated with loss of satellite cell myogenic potential that is dependent on DNA methylation patterns affecting expression of genetic programs associated with muscle stem cell differentiation and muscle fiber formation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)C247-C257
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Cell Physiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2018


  • Cerebral palsy
  • Contracture
  • Integrins
  • Myoblast
  • Satellite cell

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cell Biology


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