Indexed on: 26 Aug '09Published on: 26 Aug '09Published in: Journal of Anatomy
Satellite cells, originating in the embryonic dermamyotome, reside beneath the myofibre of mature adult skeletal muscle and constitute the tissue-specific stem cell population. Recent advances following the identification of markers for these cells (including Pax7, Myf5, c-Met and CD34) (CD, cluster of differentiation; c-Met, mesenchymal epithelial transition factor) have led to a greater understanding of the role played by satellite cells in the regeneration of new skeletal muscle during growth and following injury. In response to muscle damage, satellite cells harbour the ability both to form myogenic precursors and to self-renew to repopulate the stem cell niche following myofibre damage. More recently, other stem cell populations including bone marrow stem cells, skeletal muscle side population cells and mesoangioblasts have also been shown to have myogenic potential in culture, and to be able to form skeletal muscle myofibres in vivo and engraft into the satellite cell niche. These cell types, along with satellite cells, have shown potential when used as a therapy for skeletal muscle wasting disorders where the intrinsic stem cell population is genetically unable to repair non-functioning muscle tissue. Accurate understanding of the mechanisms controlling satellite cell lineage progression and self-renewal as well as the recruitment of other stem cell types towards the myogenic lineage is crucial if we are to exploit the power of these cells in combating myopathic conditions. Here we highlight the origin, molecular regulation and therapeutic potential of all the major cell types capable of undergoing myogenic differentiation and discuss their potential therapeutic application.