Castration induces satellite cell activation that contributes to skeletal muscle maintenance

Alanna Klose, Wenxuan Liu, Nicole Paris, Sophie Forman, John Krolewski, Kent Nastiuk, Joe V Chakkalakal


Background: Sarcopenia, the age-related loss of skeletal muscle, is a side effect of androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) for prostate cancer patients. Resident stem cells of skeletal muscle, satellite cells (SCs), are an essential source of progenitors for the growth and regeneration of skeletal muscle. Decreased androgen signaling and deficits in the number and function of SCs are features of aging. Although androgen signaling is known to regulate skeletal muscle, the cellular basis for ADT-induced exacerbation of sarcopenia is unknown. Furthermore, the consequences of androgen deprivation on SC fate in adult skeletal muscle remain largely unexplored. Methods: We examined SC fate in an androgen-deprived environment using immunofluorescence and fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) with SC-specific markers in young castrated mice. To study the effects of androgen deprivation on SC function and skeletal muscle regenerative capacity, young castrated mice were subjected to experimental regenerative paradigms. SC-derived-cell contributions to skeletal muscle maintenance were examined in castrated Pax7CreER/+; ROSA26mTmG/+ mice. SCs were depleted in Pax7CreER/+; ROSA26DTA/+ mice to ascertain the consequences of SC ablation in sham and castrated skeletal muscles. Confocal immunofluorescence analysis of neuromuscular junctions (NMJs), and assessment of skeletal muscle physiology, contractile properties, and integrity were conducted. Results: Castration led to SC activation, however this did not result in a decline in SC function or skeletal muscle regenerative capacity. Surprisingly, castration induced SC-dependent maintenance of young skeletal muscle. The functional dependence of skeletal muscles on SCs in young castrated mice was demonstrated by an increase in SC-derived-cell fusion within skeletal muscle fibers. SC depletion was associated with further atrophy and functional decline, as well as the induction of partial innervation and the loss of NMJ-associated myonuclei in skeletal muscles from castrated mice. Conclusion: The maintenance of skeletal muscles in young castrated mice relies on the cellular contributions of SCs. Considering the well-described age-related decline in SCs, the results in this study highlight the need to devise strategies that promote SC maintenance and activity to attenuate or reverse the progression of sarcopenia in elderly androgen-deprived individuals.

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