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Curr Opin Neurol. 2007 Oct;20(5):577-82.

Activating muscle stem cells: therapeutic potential in muscle diseases.

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  • 1The Dubowitz Neuromuscular Unit, Department of Paediatrics, Imperial College London, Hammersmith Hospital, London, UK.



The satellite cell is the principal muscle stem cell. Recent research, however, has highlighted new stem cell sources that, once activated in the muscle tissue, can participate in muscle regeneration. This article reviews the state of research on stem cell populations that have potential for treatment of muscular dystrophies.


Despite recent findings about the stem cell character of satellite cells and their in-vivo myogenic potential, limitations related to muscle precursor cell transfer therapy have encouraged the investigation of stem cell sources other than satellite cells. Current research is focused on identifying the best stem cell in the endothelial compartment, which is able to be systemically delivered to reach all the muscles and to contribute to widespread muscle regeneration within these muscles.


Current results highlight many possible stem cell sources for stem cell therapy of muscle diseases, and work is ongoing to identify the most effective candidate that is able to robustly regenerate muscle tissue and to functionally repopulate the muscle stem cell compartment.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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