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Characterisation of membrane electrical properties and of calcium homeostasis during the differentiation process of human myoblasts from donors of different ages

To understand the possible effect of ageing on functional properties of human satellite cells we performed electrophysiological and videoimaging experiments on human satellite cells isolated from biopsies taken from donors of different ages. More in detail, we used different configurations of the patch clamp technique to study the biophysical properties of acetylcholine receptor and voltage-dependent sodium channels. We observed only minor changes in the kinetics of sodium channels, while acetylcholine receptor channels had similar properties, showing only some delay in the appearance in older cells. Fluorescence videomicroscopy, using Fura-2 as calcium dye, showed a delayed maturation of excitation-contraction coupling mechanism in developing myotubes from older donors. This latter phenomenon can be mimicked in vitro by artificially ageing of satellite cells. Our results help to understand the cellular basis of muscle ageing.

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Department of Physiology and Pathology, University of Trieste
via A. Fleming 22
34127 Trieste
Italy
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