Skeletal Muscle Degeneration and Regeneration in Mice and Flies

M. Rai, U. Nongthomba, Miranda Grounds

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    42 Citations (Scopus)


    Many aspects of skeletal muscle biology are remarkably similar between mammals and tiny insects, and experimental models of mice and flies (Drosophila) provide powerful tools to understand factors controlling the growth, maintenance, degeneration (atrophy and necrosis), and regeneration of normal and diseased muscles, with potential applications to the human condition. This review compares the limb muscles of mice and the indirect flight muscles of flies, with respect to the mechanisms of adult myofiber formation, homeostasis, atrophy, hypertrophy, and the response to muscle degeneration, with some comment on myogenic precursor cells and common gene regulatory pathways. There is a striking similarity between the species for events related to muscle atrophy and hypertrophy, without contribution of any myoblast fusion. Since the flight muscles of adult flies lack a population of reserve myogenic cells (equivalent to satellite cells), this indicates that such cells are not required for maintenance of normal muscle function. However, since satellite cells are essential in postnatal mammals for myogenesis and regeneration in response to myofiber necrosis, the extent to which such regeneration might be possible in flight muscles of adult flies remains unclear. Common cellular and molecular pathways for both species are outlined related to neuromuscular disorders and to age-related loss of skeletal muscle mass and function (sarcopenia). The commonality of events related to skeletal muscles in these disparate species (with vast differences in size, growth duration, longevity, and muscle activities) emphasizes the combined value and power of these experimental animal models. © 2014 Elsevier Inc.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)247-281
    JournalCurrent Topics in Developmental Biology
    Publication statusPublished - 2014


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