The main sites of longitudinal growth in skeletal muscle are the ends of the fibers. This study tests the hypothesis that satellite cells (SCs) are at a greater frequency (#SC nuclei/all nuclei within basal laminae) and concentration (closer together) within growing fiber ends of posthatch chicken pectoralis. SCs were localized by their Pax7 expression, and fiber ends were identified by their retention of neonatal myosin heavy chains and small cross-sectional profiles. Whereas SC frequency decreased from about 20% at 9 days posthatch to <5% at 115 days, fiber ends retained a frequency of ∼16%. Calculated mean area of sarcolemma per SC revealed higher concentrations of SCs at fiber ends. There was also a strong inverse correlation between SC frequency and fiber profile cross-sectional size throughout development. This study suggests that SCs at fiber ends play a key role in the longitudinal growth of muscle fibers, and that fiber profile size may impact SC distribution. (J Histochem Cytochem 56:77–87, 2008
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