Skeletal muscle stem cell characteristics and myonuclei content in patients with rheumatoid arthritis: a cross-sectional study.Rheumatol Int. 2018 Jun; 38(6):1031-1041.RI
To investigate satellite cells (SCs) and myonuclei characteristics in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Resting biopsies from m. vastus lateralis were obtained from thirteen RA patients and thirteen matched healthy controls (CON). Muscle biopsies were immunohistochemically stained and analyzed for fiber type specific content of SCs (Pax7+), proliferating SCs (Pax7+/MyoD+) and differentiating SCs (myogenin+). Furthermore, we quantified fiber type specific content of myonuclei and myofiber cross-sectional area (CSA). Finally, newly formed/regenerating fibers expressing neonatal MHC (nMHC+) were determined. The fiber type specific number of SCs did not differ between RA patients and CON, nor did the content of proliferating or differentiating SCs. In contrast, the content of myonuclei per fiber was higher in RA patients than CON for both type I (2.01 ± 0.41 vs. 1.42 ± 0.40 myonuclei/fiber, p < 0.01) and type II fibers (2.01 ± 0.41 vs. 1.37 ± 0.32 myonuclei/fiber, p < 0.01). No differences were observed in fiber composition, fiber type specific CSA or content of nMHC+ fibers. Our results indicate an increased propensity for myogenic differentiation of SC leading to an elevated myonuclear content in the skeletal muscle of RA patients. It is hypothesized that this could be a compensatory regulatory response related to the chronic inflammation in these patients.