Indexed on: 16 May '13Published on: 16 May '13Published in: Bone & joint research
Lower limb muscle power is thought to influence outcome following total knee replacement (TKR). Post-operative deficits in muscle strength are commonly reported, although not explained. We hypothesised that post-operative recovery of lower limb muscle power would be influenced by the number of satellite cells in the quadriceps muscle at time of surgery.Biopsies were obtained from 29 patients undergoing TKR. Power output was assessed pre-operatively and at six and 26 weeks post-operatively with a Leg Extensor Power Rig and data were scaled for body weight. Satellite cell content was assessed in two separate analyses, the first cohort (n = 18) using immunohistochemistry and the second (n = 11) by a new quantitative polymerase chain reaction (q-PCR) protocol for Pax-7 (generic satellite cell marker) and Neural Cell Adhesion Molecule (NCAM; marker of activated cells).A significant improvement in power output was observed post-operatively with a mean improvement of 19.7 W (95% confidence interval (CI) 14.43 to 30.07; p < 0.001) in the first cohort and 27.5 W (95% CI 13.2 to 41.9; p = 0.002) in the second. A strong correlation was noted between satellite cell number (immunohistochemistry) and improvement in patient power output (r = 0.64, p = 0.008). Strong correlation was also observed between the expression of Pax-7 and power output (r = 0.79, p = 0.004), and the expression of NCAM and power output (r = 0.84, p = 0.001). The generic marker explained 58% of the variation in power output, and the marker of activated cells 67%.Muscle satellite cell content may determine improvement in lower limb power generation (and thus function) following TKR.