Title: Dietary creatine monohydrate supplementation increases satellite cell
mitotic activity during compensatory hypertrophy.
Dangott B, Schultz E, Mozdziak PE.
Department of Anatomy, University of Wisconsin-Medical School, Madison,
International Journal of Sports Medicine 2000 Jan;21(1):13-6.
Nutritional status influences muscle growth and athletic performance,
but little is known about the effect of nutritional supplements, such
as creatine, on satellite cell mitotic activity. The purpose of this
study was to examine the effect of oral creatine supplementation on
muscle growth, compensatory hypertrophy, and satellite cell mitotic
Compensatory hypertrophy was induced in the rat plantaris muscle by
removing the soleus and gastrocnemius muscles. Immediately following
surgery, a group of six rats was provided with elevated levels of creatine
monohydrate in their diet. Another group of six rats was maintained
as a non-supplemented control group. Twelve days following surgery,
all rats were implanted with mini-osmotic pumps containing the thymidine
analog 5-bromo-2'-deoxyuridine (BrdU) to label mitotically active satellite
cells. Four weeks after the initial surgery the rats were killed, plantaris
muscles were removed and weighed. Subsequently, BrdU-labeled and non-BrdU-labeled
nuclei were identified on enzymatically isolated myofiber segments.
Muscle mass and myofiber diameters were larger in the muscles that underwent
compensatory hypertrophy compared to the control muscles, but there
were no differences between muscles from creatine-supplemented and non-creatine-supplemented
rats. Similarly, compensatory hypertrophy resulted in an increased number
of BrdU-labeled myofiber nuclei, but creatine supplementation in combination
with compensatory hypertrophy resulted in a higher number of BrdU-labeled
myofiber nuclei compared to compensatory hypertrophy without creatine
Creatine supplementation in combination with an increased functional
load results in increased satellite cell mitotic activity compared to
increased functional load alone.
Discussion: People seem to want to pigeonhole creatine into some sort of hit-or-miss
water-retention supplement. Creatine is so much more than that. Creatine
is truly one of the greatest supplements there is for building muscle
and strength. Study after study attest to this fact. This is only one
of many studies exploring the exciting anabolic properties of creatine
monohydrate which we will consider in upcoming issues.
creatine is a naturally occurring compound made within our own bodies.
It is also found in many foods we eat, especially meat. Creatine monohydrate
has been used as a dietary supplement for at least a decade now, though
it was first discovered nearly 170 years ago.
the study we're considering today, the examined the effect of dietary
creatine monohydrate on satellite cell activity and subsequent muscle
hypertrophy. I won't lie to you and tell you that I have no interest
in educating Hypertrophy-Specific readers about creatine. On the contrary,
I believe so highly in the effectiveness of creatine that I introduced
it into the HSN line of products. Not because people demanded it, but
instead because I believe in it. And taking a look at the available
research on creatine will make you a believer too. The writing is on
the wall with this one folks.
looked at the activity of satellite cells. Satellite cells are myogenic
stem cells that make hypertrophy of adult skeletal muscle possible.
These stem cells are simply generic or non-specific cells that have
the ability to transform themselves into new muscle cells when they
are instructed to.
proliferation (reproduction) and subsequent differentiation (to become
a specific type of cell), these satellite cells will fuse with one another
or with the adjacent damaged muscle fiber, thereby increasing myonuclei
numbers necessary for fiber growth and repair.
to better understand what is physically happening between satellite
cells and muscle cells, try to picture 2 oil droplets floating on water.
The two droplets represent a muscle cell and a satellite cell. Because
the lipid bilayer of cells are hydrophobic just like common oil droplets,
when brought into proximity to one another in an aqueous environment,
they will come into contact for a moment and then fuse together to form
one larger oil droplet. Now whatever (i.e. nuclei) was within one droplet
will then mix with the contents of the other droplet. This is a simplified
model of how satellite cells donate nuclei to existing muscle cells.
this finding about creatine is so exciting is that the process of satellite
cells adding nuclei to regenerating muscle cells appears to be critical
for hypertrophy. There appears to be a finite limit placed on the cytoplasmic/nuclear
ratio (Rosenblatt,1994). This is the ratio of the volume of the muscle
cell to the number of nuclei. Whenever a muscle grows in response to
functional overload there is a positive correlation between the increase
in the number of myonuclei and the increase in fiber cross sectional
area (CSA). When satellite cells are prohibited from donating their
nuclei, overloaded muscle simply will not grow (Rosenblatt,1992; Phelan,1997).
was able to show that creatine supplementation increased the number
of myonuclei donated from satellite cells. This increases the potential
for growth of those fibers due to the aforementioned cytoplasmic/nuclear
ratio. This isncrease in myonuclei probably stems from creatine's ability
to increase levels of the myogenic transcription factor MRF4 (Hespel,
it comes to answering the question, "what works and what doesn't" stick
to those supplements that have real research behind them. Creatine,
proteins, and essential fatty acids top the list of highly researched,
highly effective supplements.
1) Phelan JN, Gonyea WJ. Effect of radiation on
satellite cell activity and protein expression in overloaded mammalian
skeletal muscle. Anat. Rec. 247:179-188, 1997
2)Rosenblatt JD, Parry DJ., Gamma irradiation
prevents compensatory hypertrophy of overloaded extensor digitorum longus
muscle. J. Appl. Physiol. 73:2538-2543, 1992
3)Rosenblatt JD, Yong D, Parry DJ., Satellite
cell activity is required for hypertrophy of overloaded adult rat muscle.
Muscle Nerve 17:608-613, 1994
4)Hespel P, Op't Eijnde B, Van Leemputte M, Urso
B, Greenhaff PL, Labarque V, Dymarkowski S, Van Hecke P, Richter EA.
Oral creatine supplementation facilitates the rehabilitation of disuse
atrophy and alters the expression of muscle myogenic factors in humans.
J Physiol. 2001 Oct 15;536(Pt 2):625-33