Muscle Stem Cells Can Treat Mouse Muscular Dystrophy

Cells engraft well and improve muscle function

MONDAY, July 14 (HealthDay News) -- Muscle stem cells can be purified and used to improve muscle function in a mouse model of muscular dystrophy, according to the results of a study published in the July 11 issue of Cell.

Massimiliano Cerletti, Ph.D., and colleagues from Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., purified skeletal muscle precursors based on cell-surface markers from satellite cells, which reside near skeletal muscle fibers. They then engrafted the precursors into the muscle of mice with a defect in the dystrophin gene, a model of muscular dystrophy.

The researchers found that the purified skeletal muscle precursors were responsible for as much as 94 percent of muscle fibers, restored dystrophin expression, and significantly improved muscle histology and function. The transplanted cells also migrated into the satellite cell compartment, renewing its stem cell pool and participating in the repair of subsequent muscle injuries.

"Together, these studies indicate the presence in adult skeletal muscle of prospectively isolatable muscle-forming stem cells and directly demonstrate the efficacy of myogenic stem cell transplant for treating muscle degenerative disease," Cerletti and colleagues conclude.

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