THURSDAY, Dec. 2, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- Bone marrow-derived side population stem cells appear to have limited potential for regenerating injured cardiac and skeletal muscle, says a University of Chicago study in the Dec. 1 issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation.
The researchers transplanted such stem cells from normal male mice into female mice that lacked delta-sarcoglycan, an animal model of muscular dystrophy and cardiomyopathy. The researchers wanted to find out if the stem cells would be recruited to heart and skeletal muscle to restore delta-sarcoglycan expression.
They found that the stem cells can produce delta-sarcoglycan, but only to a small degree. This suggests that these stem cells offer limited potential for regeneration of heart and skeletal tissue.
Many previous studies have found that stem cells can travel to injured skeletal and cardiac muscle, but marker proteins have not been able to definitively distinguish between donor and recipient cells. This raises the possibility that the recipients' own cells, not donor stem cells, have been responsible for observed regeneration of heart and skeletal muscle.
The U.S. National Institutes of Health has more about stem cells.