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J Stem Cell Res Ther. 2012 Oct 17;(Suppl 11). pii: 004.

"Mix of Mics"- Phenotypic and Biological Heterogeneity of "Multipotent" Muscle Interstitial Cells (MICs).

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Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, La Jolla, CA, USA.
Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, La Jolla, CA, USA ; Dulbecco Telethon Institute (DTI), IRCCS Fondazione Santa Lucia, Rome, Italy.


The capacity of adult skeletal muscle for regeneration appears to be limited, with progressive impairment in repair efficiency of injured muscles observed in chronic muscular disorders and during aging. While satellite cells, the committed adult muscle stem cells, are the main direct cell source supporting the regenerative potential of adult skeletal muscles, the characterization of the cell types and signals that constitute the functional "niche" of satellite cells is currently the object of intense investigation. Recent studies have identified a functional relationship between satellite cells and various cell types located in key anatomical position, such as the interstitium of skeletal muscles. This heterogeneous population of muscle interstitial cells (MICs) appears to retain an intrinsic multipotency within the mesodermal lineage, and their direct or indirect contribution to myofiber turnover, repair and degeneration has been suggested by many studies that will be reviewed here. Given the existing gap of knowledge on lineage identity and functional properties of MICs, their detailed characterization at the single cell level holds the promise to provide key insight into the composition of this heterogeneous population and the dynamic transition through distinct sub-populations in healthy, diseased and aging muscles. This review provides an overview of the results of various studies describing the phenotype and the function of cells isolated from skeletal muscle interstitium, and discusses the importance of single cell transcription profiling in order to decipher the functional and phenotypical heterogeneity of muscle interstitial cells (MICs).


Epigenetic; Mesodermal lineage; Multipotent; Single cell analysis; Skeletal muscle interstitium; Stem cell

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