High-Content Screening of Human Primary Muscle Satellite Cells for New Therapies for Muscular Atrophy/Dystrophy

Lidia S Nierobisz1, Bentley Cheatham2, Benjamin M Buehrer2 , Jonathan Z Sexton1, *
1 Biomanufacturing Research Institute and Technology Enterprise, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, North Carolina Central University Durham, NC 27707, USA
2 ZenBio Inc. RTP, NC 27709, USA

Article Metrics

CrossRef Citations:
Total Statistics:

Full-Text HTML Views: 782
Abstract HTML Views: 370
PDF Downloads: 137
Total Views/Downloads: 1289
Unique Statistics:

Full-Text HTML Views: 331
Abstract HTML Views: 183
PDF Downloads: 115
Total Views/Downloads: 629

© Nierobisz et al.; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Biomanufacturing Research Institute and Technology Enterprise, North Carolina Central University, 1801 Fayetteville St., Durham, NC 27707, USA. Email:


Myoblast proliferation and differentiation are essential for normal skeletal muscle growth and repair. Muscle recovery is dependent on the quiescent population of muscle stem cells - satellite cells. During muscle injury, satellite cells become mitotically active and begin the repair process by fusing with each other and/or with myofibers. Aging, prolonged inactivity, obesity, cachexia and other muscle wasting diseases are associated with a decreased number of quiescent and proliferating satellite cells, which impedes the repair process.

A high-content/high-throughput platform was developed and utilized for robust phenotypic evaluation of human primary satellite cells in vitro for the discovery of chemical probes that may improve muscle recovery. A 1600 compound pilot screen was developed using two highly annotated small molecule libraries. This screen yielded 15 dose responsive compounds that increased proliferation rate in satellite cells derived from a single obese human donor. Two of these compounds remained dose responsive when counter-screened in 3-donor obese superlot. The Alk-5 inhibitor LY364947, was used as a positive control for assessing satellite cell proliferation/delayed differentiation. A multivariate approach was utilized for exploratory data analysis to discover proliferation vs. differentiation-dependent changes in cellular phenotype. Initial screening efforts successfully identified a number of phenotypic outcomes that are associated with desired effect of stimulation of proliferation and delayed differentiation.

Keywords: : High-content screening, LY364947, muscle atrophy, phenotypic high-content analysis and satellite cell proliferation..