Muscular Dystrophy Stem Cell Treatment

Muscular Dystrophy and Stem Cell Therapy

What is Muscular Dystrophy?

Muscular Dystrophy and Stem Cell Therapy

Muscular Dystrophy and Stem Cell Therapy

Muscular Dystrophy (MD) refers to a group of hereditary muscle diseases that weakens the muscles that move the human body.
Muscular dystrophies are characterized by progressive skeletal muscle weakness, defects in muscle proteins, and the death of muscle cells and tissue.

Nine diseases including Duchenne, Becker, limb girdle, congenital, facioscapulohumeral, myotonic, oculopharyngeal, distal, and Emery-Dreifuss are always classified as muscular dystrophy but there are more than 100 diseases in total with similarities to muscular dystrophy.

Most types of MD are multi-system disorders with manifestations in body systems including the heart, gastrointestinal and nervous systems, endocrine glands, skin, eyes and even brain.

The condition may also lead to mood swings and learning difficulties.


Effective myotube formation in human adipose tissue-derived stem cells expressing dystrophin and myosin heavy chain by cellular fusion with mouse C2C12 myoblasts.

Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2011 Apr 5;

Authors: Eom YW, Lee JE, Yang MS, Jang IK, Kim HE, Lee DH, Kim YJ, Park WJ, Kong JH, Shim KY, Lee JI, Kim HS

Stem cell therapy for muscular dystrophies requires stem cells that are able to participate in the formation of new muscle fibers. However, the differentiation steps that are the most critical for this process are not clear.

We investigated the myogenic phases of human adipose tissue-derived stem cells (hASCs) step by step and the capability of myotube formation according to the differentiation phase by cellular fusion with mouse myoblast C2C12 cells.

In hASCs treated with 5-azacytidine and fibroblast growth factor-2 (FGF-2) for 1day, the early differentiation step to express MyoD and myogenin was induced by FGF-2 treatment for 6days. Dystrophin and myosin heavy chain (MyHC) expression was induced by hASC conditioned medium in the late differentiation step.

Myotubes were observed only in hASCs undergoing the late differentiation step by cellular fusion with C2C12 cells. In contrast, hASCs that were normal or in the early stage were not involved in myotube formation.

Our results indicate that stem cells expressing dystrophin and MyHC are more suitable for myotube formation by co-culture with myoblasts than normal or early differentiated stem cells expressing MyoD and myogenin.

PMID: 21473854 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

A novel mitochondrial micropeptide MPM enhances mitochondrial respiratory activity and promotes myogenic differentiation. Cell Death Dis. 2019 Jul 11;10(7):528 Authors: Lin YF, Xiao MH, Chen HX, Meng Y, Zhao N, Yang L, Tang H, Wang JL, Liu X, Zhu Y, Zhuang SM Abstract Micropeptides belong to a class of newly identified small molecules with <100 amino acids in length, and their functions remain largely unknown. Here, we identified a novel muscle-enriched micropeptide that was localized to mitochondria (named MPM, micropeptide in mitochondria) and upregulated during in vitro differentiation of C2C12 myoblasts and in vivo early postnatal skeletal muscle development, and muscle regeneration after cardiotoxin (CTX) damage. Downregulation of MPM was observed in the muscular tissues of tibial muscular dystrophy and Duchenne muscular dystrophy patients. Furthermore, MPM silencing inhibited the differentiation of C2C12 myoblasts into myotubes, whereas MPM overexpression stimulated it. MPM-/- mice exhibited smaller skeletal muscle fibers and worse muscle performance, such as decrease in the maximum grip force of limbs, the latency to fall off rotarod, and the exhausting swimming time. Muscle regeneration was also impaired in MPM-/- mice, as evidenced by lower expression of Pax7, MyoD, and MyoG after CTX injection and smaller regenerated myofibers, compared with wild-type mice. Mechanistical investigations based on both gain- and loss-of function studies revealed that MPM increased oxygen consumption and ATP production of mitochondria. Moreover, ectopic expression of PGC-1α, which can enhance mitochondrial respiration, attenuated the inhibitory effect of siMPM on myogenic differentiation. These results imply that MPM may promote myogenic differentiation and muscle fiber growth by enhancing mitochondrial respiratory activity, which highlights the importance of micropeptides in the elaborate regulatory network of both myogenesis and mitochondrial activity and implicates MPM as a potential target for muscular dystrophy therapy. PMID: 31296841 [PubMed - in process]

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