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Cell. 2005 Jul 29;122(2):289-301.

Stem cell function, self-renewal, and behavioral heterogeneity of cells from the adult muscle satellite cell niche.

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Muscle Cell Biology Group, Medical Research Council Clinical Sciences Centre, Imperial College Faculty of Medicine, Hammersmith Hospital, Du Cane Road, London W12 ONN, UK.


Satellite cells are situated beneath the basal lamina that surrounds each myofiber and function as myogenic precursors for muscle growth and repair. The source of satellite cell renewal is controversial and has been suggested to be a separate circulating or interstitial stem cell population. Here, we transplant single intact myofibers into radiation-ablated muscles and demonstrate that satellite cells are self-sufficient as a source of regeneration. As few as seven satellite cells associated with one transplanted myofiber can generate over 100 new myofibers containing thousands of myonuclei. Moreover, the transplanted satellite cells vigorously self-renew, expanding in number and repopulating the host muscle with new satellite cells. Following experimental injury, these cells proliferate extensively and regenerate large compact clusters of myofibers. Thus, within a normally stable tissue, the satellite cell exhibits archetypal stem cell properties and is competent to form the basal origin of adult muscle regeneration.

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