Engraftment of human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived myogenic progenitors restores dystrophin in mice with duchenne muscular dystrophy.

Research paper by Ruojie R He, Huan H Li, Liang L Wang, Yaqin Y Li, Yu Y Zhang, Menglong M Chen, Yuling Y Zhu, Cheng C Zhang

Indexed on: 22 May '20Published on: 21 May '20Published in: Biological Research


Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is a devastating genetic muscular disorder with no effective treatment that is caused by the loss of dystrophin. Human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) offer a promising unlimited resource for cell-based therapies of muscular dystrophy. However, their clinical applications are hindered by inefficient myogenic differentiation, and moreover, the engraftment of non-transgene hiPSC-derived myogenic progenitors has not been examined in the mdx mouse model of DMD. We investigated the muscle regenerative potential of myogenic progenitors derived from hiPSCs in mdx mice. The hiPSCs were transfected with enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) vector and defined as EGFP hiPSCs. Myogenic differentiation was performed on EGFP hiPSCs with supplementary of basic fibroblast growth factor, forskolin, 6-bromoindirubin-3'-oxime as well as horse serum. EGFP hiPSCs-derived myogenic progenitors were engrafted into mdx mice via both intramuscular and intravenous injection. The restoration of dystrophin expression, the ratio of central nuclear myofibers, and the transplanted cells-derived satellite cells were accessed after intramuscular and systemic transplantation. We report that abundant myogenic progenitors can be generated from hiPSCs after treatment with these three small molecules, with consequent terminal differentiation giving rise to mature myotubes in vitro. Upon intramuscular or systemic transplantation into mdx mice, these myogenic progenitors engrafted and contributed to human-derived myofiber regeneration in host muscles, restored dystrophin expression, ameliorated pathological lesions, and seeded the satellite cell compartment in dystrophic muscles. This study demonstrates the muscle regeneration potential of myogenic progenitors derived from hiPSCs using non-transgenic induction methods. Engraftment of hiPSC-derived myogenic progenitors could be a potential future therapeutic strategy to treat DMD in a clinical setting.