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J Cell Sci. 2006 Jul 15;119(Pt 14):2945-52.

Myogenic potential of adipose-tissue-derived cells.

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Laboratorio di Biologia Vascolare e Terapia Genica, Centro Cardiologico Fondazione Monzino, Via Parea 4, 20138 Milan, Italy.


Adipose-tissue-derived mesenchymal stem cells can be directed towards a myogenic phenotype in vitro by the addition of specific inductive media. However, the ability of these or other adipose-tissue-associated cells to respond to ;natural' myogenic cues such as a myogenic environment has never been investigated in detail. Here, we provide evidence that a restricted subpopulation of freshly harvested adipose-tissue-derived cells possesses an intrinsic myogenic potential and can spontaneously differentiate into skeletal muscle. Conversion of adipose-tissue-derived cells to a myogenic phenotype is enhanced by co-culture with primary myoblasts in the absence of cell contact and is maximal when the two cell types are co-cultured in the same plate. Conversely, in vitro expanded adipose-tissue-derived mesenchymal stem cells require direct contact with muscle cells to generate skeletal myotubes. Finally, we show that uncultured adipose-tissue-associated cells have a high regenerative capacity in vivo since they can be incorporated into muscle fibers following ischemia and can restore significantly dystrophin expression in mdx mice.

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