At the right place at the right time—new insights into muscle stem cells

September 17, 2012

Muscles have a pool of stem cells which provides a source for muscle growth and for regeneration of injured muscles. The stem cells must reside in special niches of the muscle for efficient growth and repair.

The developmental biologists Dr. Dominique Bröhl and Prof. Carmen Birchmeier of the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) Berlin-Buch have elucidated how these stem cells colonize these niches. At the same time, they show that the stem cells weaken when, due to a mutation, they locate outside of the muscle fibers instead of in their stem cell niches.

Muscle stem cells, also called , colonize a niche that is located between the plasma membrane of the muscle cell and the surrounding basal lamina. Already in newborns these niches contain satellite cells from which both muscle cells and new stem cells can be generated.

Weakened stem cells

In the present study Dr. Bröhl and Professor Birchmeier showed that mouse muscle progenitor cells lacking components of the cannot colonize their niche. Instead the muscle progenitor cells locate in tissue between the . The view this as the cause for the weakening of the muscles. The stem cells that are "in the wrong place" are no longer as potent as they originally were and hardly contribute to muscle growth.

In addition, the Notch signaling pathway has a second function in muscle development. It prevents the differentiation of stem cells into muscle cells through suppression of the muscle developmental factor MyoD and thus ensures that there will always be a pool of stem cells for muscle repair and regeneration. In the future this work could gain in importance for research on and muscle weakness.

Explore further: Mechanism for regulation of growth and differentiation of adult muscle stem cells is revealed

More information: Colonization of the Satellite Cell Niche by Skeletal Muscle Progenitor Cells Depends on Notch Signals, Developmental Cell, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.devcel.2012.07.014

Related Stories

Heart derived stem cells develop into heart muscle

April 23, 2008

Dutch researchers at University Medical Center Utrecht and the Hubrecht Institute have succeeded in growing large numbers of stem cells from adult human hearts into new heart muscle cells. A breakthrough in stem cell research. ...

Team identifies stem cells that repair injured muscles

March 5, 2009

A University of Colorado at Boulder research team has identified a type of skeletal muscle stem cell that contributes to the repair of damaged muscles in mice, which could have important implications in the treatment of injured, ...

Recommended for you

Basic research fuels advanced discovery

August 26, 2016

Clinical trials and translational medicine have certainly given people hope and rapid pathways to cures for some of mankind's most troublesome diseases, but now is not the time to overlook the power of basic research, says ...

New method creates endless supply of kidney precursor cells

August 25, 2016

Salk Institute scientists have discovered the holy grail of endless youthfulness—at least when it comes to one type of human kidney precursor cell. Previous attempts to maintain cultures of the so-called nephron progenitor ...

New avenue for understanding cause of common diseases

August 25, 2016

A ground-breaking Auckland study could lead to discoveries about many common diseases such as diabetes, cancer and dementia. The new finding could also illuminate the broader role of the enigmatic mitochondria in human development.

Strict diet combats rare progeria aging disorders

August 25, 2016

Mice with a severe aging disease live three times longer if they eat thirty percent less. Moreover, they age much healthier than mice that eat as much as they want. These are findings of a joint study being published today ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.