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Exp Cell Res. 2009 Apr 1;315(6):915-27. doi: 10.1016/j.yexcr.2009.01.005. Epub 2009 Jan 20.

Selection of multipotent cells and enhanced muscle reconstruction by myogenic macrophage-secreted factors.

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Department of Biology, University of Padova, Via Ugo Bassi 58/B, 35131 Padova, Italy.


Skeletal muscle regeneration relies on satellite cells, a population of myogenic precursors. Inflammation also plays a determinant role in the process, as upon injury, macrophages are attracted by the damaged myofibers and the activated satellite cells and act as key elements of dynamic muscle supportive stroma. Yet, it is not known how macrophages interact with the more profound stem cells of the satellite cell niche. Here we show that in the presence of a murine macrophage conditioned medium (mMCM) a subpopulation of multipotent cells could be selected and expanded from adult rat muscle. These cells were small, round, poorly adhesive, slow-growing and showed mesenchymal differentiation plasticity. At the same time, mMCM showed clear myogenic capabilities, as experiments with satellite cells mechanically isolated from suspensions of single myofibers showed that the macrophagic factors inhibited their tendency to shift towards adipogenesis. In vivo, intramuscular administrations of concentrated mMCM in a rat model of extensive surgical ablation dramatically improved muscle regeneration. Altogether, these findings suggest that macrophagic factors could be of great help in developing therapeutic protocols with myogenic stem cells.

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