Biomedicine

Stem Cell Help for Aching Muscles

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Science  29 Nov 2002:
Vol. 298, Issue 5599, pp. 1683
DOI: 10.1126/science.298.5599.1683a

The stem cells of skeletal muscle—satellite cells—are particularly well defined as they are easy to isolate and identify, occupying a niche between the plasma membrane and the basal lamina of each myofiber. To test whether this tissue-specific stem cell population could itself be renewed by stem cells from the bone marrow, LaBarge and Blau treated mice with whole-body irradiation to destroy the bone marrow and reintroduced new bone marrow cells that had been engineered to express green fluorescent protein (GFP). Two to six months later, 5% of the satellite cells in the tibialis anterior muscles were labeled with GFP. The cells expressed muscle-specific proteins and were diploid—ruling out their generation by fusion of myoblasts with the introduced bone marrow cells. These bone-marrow-derived muscle stem cells were also recruited to repair damaged muscle after exercise. Thus, stem cells throughout the body may be available to replenish tissues damaged in the course of daily life. — KK

Cell111, 589 (2002).

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