Needle biopsy is widely used to obtain specimens for physiological, anatomical and biochemical studies of skeletal muscle (SM). We optimized a procedure which we termed tiny percutaneous needle biopsy (TPNB), to efficiently gather good numbers of human satellite cells and single dissociated fibers for the functional study of skeletal muscle; these samples permit isolation of high-quality RNA and sufficient amounts of proteins to allow molecular analysis. Moreover, TPNB showed a clear advantage in that the technique was easier than other procedures used on healthy volunteers in human trials. TPNB is a very safe minor surgical procedure. It is less traumatic than needle aspiration biopsy, and significant complications are improbable. TPNB should become established as an important tool in the investigation of SM and may be employed to study various physiological aspects of SM in human subjects. We suggest that TPNB should also be used in the study of muscle diseases and disorders including muscular dystrophy, congenital myopathy, and metabolic defects.
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