Resident muscle stem cell myogenic characteristics in postnatal muscle growth impairments in children with cerebral palsy

Ryan E. Kahn, Timothy Krater, Jill E. Larson, Marysol Encarnacion, Tasos Karakostas, Neeraj M. Patel, Vineeta T. Swaroop, Sudarshan Dayanidhi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Children with cerebral palsy (CP), a perinatal brain alteration, have impaired postnatal muscle growth, with some muscles developing contractures. Functionally, children are either able to walk or primarily use wheelchairs. Satellite cells are muscle stem cells (MuSCs) required for postnatal development and source of myonuclei. Only MuSC abundance has been previously reported in contractured muscles, with myogenic characteristics assessed only in vitro. We investigated whether MuSC myogenic, myonuclear, and myofiber characteristics in situ differ between contractured and noncontractured muscles, across functional levels, and compared with typically developing (TD) children with musculoskeletal injury. Open muscle biopsies were obtained from 36 children (30 CP, 6 TD) during surgery; contracture correction for adductors or gastrocnemius, or from vastus lateralis [bony surgery in CP, anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) repair in TD]. Muscle cross sections were immunohistochemically labeled for MuSC abundance, activation, proliferation, nuclei, myofiber borders, type-1 fibers, and collagen content in serial sections. Although MuSC abundance was greater in contractured muscles, primarily in type-1 fibers, their myogenic characteristics (activation, proliferation) were lower compared with noncontractured muscles. Overall, MuSC abundance, activation, and proliferation appear to be associated with collagen content. Myonuclear number was similar between all muscles, but only in contractured muscles were there associations between myonuclear number, MuSC abundance, and fiber cross-sectional area. Puzzlingly, MuSC characteristics were similar between ambulatory and nonambulatory children. Noncontractured muscles in children with CP had a lower MuSC abundance compared with TD-ACL injured children, but similar myogenic characteristics. Contractured muscles may have an intrinsic deficiency in developmental progression for postnatal MuSC pool establishment, needed for lifelong efficient growth and repair.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)C614-C631
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Cell Physiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2023


  • cerebral palsy
  • muscle contractures
  • muscle stem cells
  • myogenic characteristics
  • postnatal development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cell Biology


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