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Curr Opin Pharmacol. 2006 Jun;6(3):295-300. Epub 2006 Mar 24.

Human muscle stem cells.

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  • 1INSERM U787, Institut de Myologie, 105 bd de l'Höpital, 75013 Paris, France.


Stem cells are unspecialized cells that have been defined in many different ways but they have two important characteristics that distinguish them from other cells in the body. First, they can replenish their numbers for long periods through cell division. Second, after receiving certain chemical signals, they can produce, through asymmetric cell division, a progeny that can differentiate or transform into specialized cells with specific functions, such as heart, nerve or muscle. In recent years, stem cells have received much attention owing to their potential use in cell-based therapies for human neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's disease, stroke and muscular dystrophies. However, many questions need to be resolved before stem cells with myogenic potential are used in clinical standard protocols.

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