Regeneration of skeletal muscle requires the activation, proliferation, differentiation and fusion of satellite cells to generate new muscle fibres. This study was designed to determine the role of tensin in this process. Cardiotoxin was used to induce regeneration in the anterior tibial muscles of tensin-knockout and wild-type mice. From histological analysis, we found that the regeneration process lasted longer in knockout than in wild-type mice. To investigate the mechanism involved in this delay, we examined each regeneration step in animals and cultured primary cells. We found fewer proliferating myogenic cells identified by bromodeoxyuridine and desmin double labelling in knockout mice on the first 2 days after injury. Expression of myosin, paxillin, dystrophin and dystrophin-associated proteins were delayed in knockout mice. Withdrawal from the cell cycle was less efficient in isolated knockout myoblasts, and the fusion capacity was reduced in these cells as well. These defects in regeneration most likely contributed to the 9-fold increase of centrally nucleated fibres occurring in the non-injected knockout mice. Our results demonstrated clearly that tensin plays a role in skeletal-muscle regeneration.

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