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Cell. 2003 Jun 27;113(7):841-52.

Wnt signaling induces the myogenic specification of resident CD45+ adult stem cells during muscle regeneration.

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Ottawa Health Research Institute, Molecular Medicine Program, 501 Smyth Road, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1H 8L6.


The observation that CD45(+) stem cells injected into the circulation participate in muscle regeneration raised the question of whether CD45(+) stem cells resident in muscle play a physiological role during regeneration. We found that CD45(+) cells cultured from uninjured muscle were uniformly nonmyogenic. However, CD45(+) cells purified from regenerating muscle readily gave rise to determined myoblasts. The number of CD45(+) cells in muscle rapidly expanded following injury, and a high proportion entered the cell cycle. Investigation of candidate pathways involved in embryonic myogenesis revealed that Wnt signaling was sufficient to induce the myogenic specification of muscle-derived CD45(+) stem cells. Moreover, injection of the Wnt antagonists sFRP2/3 into regenerating muscle markedly reduced CD45(+) stem cell proliferation and myogenic specification. Our data therefore suggest that mobilization of resident CD45(+) stem cells is an important factor in regeneration after injury and highlight the Wnt pathway as a potential therapeutic target for degenerative neuromuscular disease.

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