Single myofibers with attached satellite cells isolated from adult rats were used to study the influence of the mature myofiber on the proliferation of satellite cells. The satellite cells remain quiescent when cultured in serum containing medium but proliferate when exposed to mitogen from an extract of crushed adult muscle. The response of satellite cells to mitogen was measured under three situations with respect to cell contact: (1) in contact with a viable myofiber and its basal lamina, (2) detached from the myofiber by centrifugal force and deposited on the substratum and (3) beneath the basal lamina of a Marcaine killed myofiber. The results show that satellite cells in contact with the plasmalemma of a viable myofiber have reduced mitogenic response. Since inhibiting growth may induce differentiation, I tested whether satellite cells proliferating on the surface of a myofiber would fuse. Although the satellite cell progeny were fusion competent, they did not fuse with the myofiber. To determine whether fusion competence of the myofiber changes with time in culture, embryonic myoblasts were challenged to fuse with myofibers that had been stripped of satellite cells and cultured for several days. The myoblasts fused with pseudopodial sprouts growing from the ends of the myofiber, but did not fuse with the original myofiber surface. These results indicate that contact with the surface of a mature myofiber suppresses proliferation of myogenic cells but the cells do not fuse with the myofiber.

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