Indexed on: 28 Mar '07Published on: 28 Mar '07Published in: Molecular Therapy
Satellite cells are dormant progenitors located at the periphery of skeletal myofibers that can be triggered to proliferate for both self-renewal and differentiation into myogenic cells. In addition to anatomic location, satellite cells are typified by markers such as M-cadherin, Pax7, Myf5, and neural cell adhesion molecule-1. The Pax3 and Pax7 transcription factors play essential roles in the early specification, migration, and myogenic differentiation of satellite cells. In addition to muscle-committed satellite cells, multi-lineage stem cells encountered in embryonic, as well as adult, tissues exhibit myogenic potential in experimental conditions. These multi-lineage stem cells include side-population cells, muscle-derived stem cells (MDSCs), and mesoangioblasts. Although the ontogenic derivation, identity, and localization of these non-conventional myogenic cells remain elusive, recent results suggest their ultimate origin in blood vessel walls. Indeed, purified pericytes and endothelium-related cells demonstrate high myogenic potential in culture and in vivo. Allogeneic myoblasts transplanted into Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) patients have been, in early trials, largely inefficient owing to immune rejection, rapid death, and limited intramuscular migration--all obstacles that are now being alleviated, at least in part, by more efficient immunosuppression and escalated cell doses. As an alternative to myoblast transplantation, stem cells such as mesoangioblasts and CD133+ progenitors administered through blood circulation have recently shown great potential to regenerate dystrophic muscle.