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Succinate is released by skeletal muscle during exercise and activates <i>SUCNR1</i>/GPR91. Signaling of SUCNR1 is involved in metabolite-sensing paracrine communication in skeletal muscle during exercise. However, the specific cell types responding to succinate and the directionality of communication are unclear. We aim to characterize the expression of SUCNR1 in human skeletal muscle. De novo analysis of transcriptomic datasets demonstrated that <i>SUCNR1</i> mRNA is expressed in immune, adipose, and liver tissues, but scarce in skeletal muscle. In human tissues, <i>SUCNR1</i> mRNA was associated with macrophage markers. Single-cell RNA sequencing and fluorescent RNAscope demonstrated that in human skeletal muscle, <i>SUCNR1</i> mRNA is not expressed in muscle fibers but coincided with macrophage populations. Human M2-polarized macrophages exhibit high levels of <i>SUCNR1</i> mRNA and stimulation with selective agonists of SUCNR1 triggered Gq- and Gi-coupled signaling. Primary human skeletal muscle cells were unresponsive to SUCNR1 agonists. In conclusion, SUCNR1 is not expressed in muscle cells and its role in the adaptive response of skeletal muscle to exercise is most likely mediated via paracrine mechanisms involving M2-like macrophages within the muscle.<b>NEW & NOTEWORTHY</b> Macrophages but not skeletal muscle cells respond to extracellular succinate via SUCNR1/GPR91.

Original publication




Journal article


American journal of physiology. Endocrinology and metabolism


American Physiological Society

Publication Date





E289 - E298


Humans, Muscles, Obesity, Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled, Signal Transduction, Succinic Acid