IL-6 induced STAT3 signalling is associated with the proliferation of human muscle satellite cells following acute muscle damage

Kyle G. Toth, Bryon R. McKay, Michael de Lisio, Jonathon P. Little, Mark A. Tarnopolsky, Gianni Parise

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Although the satellite cell (SC) is a key regulator of muscle growth during development and muscle adaptation following exercise, the regulation of human muscle SC function remains largely unexplored. STAT3 signalling mediated via interleukin-6 (IL-6) has recently come to the forefront as a potential regulator of SC proliferation. The early response of the SC population in human muscle to muscle-lengthening contractions (MLC) as mediated by STAT3 has not been studied. Methodology/Principal Findings: Twelve male subjects (21±2 y; 83±12 kg) performed 300 maximal MLC of the quadriceps femoris at 180°•s-1 over a 55° range of motion with muscle samples (vastus lateralis) and blood samples (antecubital vein) taken prior to exercise (PRE), 1 hour (T1), 3 hours (T3) and 24 hours (T24) post-exercise. Cytoplasmic and nuclear fractions of muscle biopsies were purified and analyzed for total and phosphorylated STAT3 (p-STAT3) by western blot. p-STAT3 was detected in cytoplasmic fractions across the time course peaking at T24 (p<0.01 vs. PRE). Nuclear total and p-STAT3 were not detected at appreciable levels. However, immunohistochemical analysis revealed a progressive increase in the proportion of SCs expressing p-STAT3 with ~60% of all SCs positive for p-STAT3 at T24 (p<0.001 vs. PRE). Additionally, cMyc, a STAT3 downstream gene, was significantly up-regulated in SCs at T24 versus PRE (p<0.05). Whole muscle mRNA analysis revealed induction of the STAT3 target genes IL-6, SOCS3, cMyc (peaking at T3, p<0.05), IL-6Rα and GP130 (peaking at T24, p<0.05). In addition, Myf5 mRNA was up-regulated at T24 (p<0.05) with no appreciable change in MRF4 mRNA. Conclusions/Significant Findings: We demonstrate that IL-6 induction of STAT3 signaling occurred exclusively in the nuclei of SCs in response to MLC. An increase in the number of cMyc+ SCs indicated that human SCs were induced to proliferate under the control of STAT3 signaling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere17392
JournalPloS one
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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