Unique population of muscle stem cells found in mice

ar lineages both in vitro and in vivo, said Dr. Huard, who also is deputy director of the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh. In addition, we were able to use a gene marker to prove that these cells were incorporated into the musculature of mdx mice. The cells continued to proliferate, make dystrophin and improve muscle regeneration.

MDS cells were tagged with the LacZ reporter gene and traced, Dr. Huard explained, adding that these marked cells were found in blood vessels and peripheral nerve tissue as well as in muscle tissue. Researchers also looked for evidence of immune system activity at the transplant sites and monitored cell activity for three months.

These results suggest that the improved transplantation capacity of the MDSC may be attributed to their inability to trigger infiltration of activated lymphocytes which would eventually play a role in immune rejection of the transplanted cells, Dr. Huard wrote.

While these results are promising, further investigation is necessary. Scientists still have not identified a way to deliver the missing dystrophin gene systemically to achieve a global improvement in muscle function.

We need to find out the best way to make these cells grow and become the right kinds of cells, as well as to control the process, said Dr. Huard. But it is an important step in the development of muscle cell transplantation for Duchenne muscular dystrophy patients.

In addition to Drs. Huard and Qu-Peterson, other authors are Bridget Deasy, Ron Jankowski, Makato Ikezawa, M.D., James Cummins, Ryan Pruchnic, John Mytinger, Baohong Cao, M.D., Ph.D., and Charley Gates, all of the University of Pittsburgh; and Anton Wernig, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Bonn, Germany.


Contact: Michele Baum
University of Pittsburgh Medical Center

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