Human adult stem cells isolated from human adult blood vessels are able to regenerate muscle in a mouse model of muscular dystrophy, according to a study published online in Nature Cell Biology.
The lure of a cure for muscle-wasting diseases has lead researchers to explore the regeneration potential of stem cells isolated from the walls of blood vessels. In a recent Nature paper Giulio Cossu and colleagues showed that such cells isolated from young golden retrievers regenerated the muscles of dystrophic dogs when injected into their circulation. A new study by the same team demonstrates that cells with similar properties can be isolated from human juvenile and adult blood vessels.
The same researchers isolated this type of stem cell from juvenile dystrophic patients and grew them in cell culture. Muscular dystrophy is linked to a mutation in dystrophin, a gene required for muscle formation, and the authors genetically modified the stem cells to make them express the corrected version of the gene. After injection into the blood vessels of dystrophic mice, these cells found their way to skeletal muscle, which they were able to partly regenerate. Importantly, the cells were shown to reconstitute the muscle's own stem cell population. The authors suggest that the isolation of these stem cells raises hope for treating muscular dystrophy using the patient's own cells.
Giulio Cossu (Stem Cell Research Institute, Rome, Italy)
Abstract available online.
(C) Nature Cell Biology press release.
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