Author(s): Beauchamp JR, Morgan JE, Pagel CN, Partridge TA
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Abstract Myoblasts, the precursors of skeletal muscle fibers, can be induced to withdraw from the cell cycle and differentiate in vitro. Recent studies have also identified undifferentiated subpopulations that can self-renew and generate myogenic cells (Baroffio, A., M. Hamann, L. Bernheim, M.-L. Bochaton-Pillat, G. Gabbiani, and C.R. Bader. 1996. Differentiation. 60:47-57; Yoshida, N., S. Yoshida, K. Koishi, K. Masuda, and Y. Nabeshima. 1998. J. Cell Sci. 111:769-779). Cultured myoblasts can also differentiate and contribute to repair and new muscle formation in vivo, a capacity exploited in attempts to develop myoblast transplantation (MT) for genetic modification of adult muscle. Our studies of the dynamics of MT demonstrate that cultures of myoblasts contain distinct subpopulations defined by their behavior in vitro and divergent responses to grafting. By comparing a genomic and a semiconserved marker, we have followed the fate of myoblasts transplanted into muscles of dystrophic mice, finding that the majority of the grafted cells quickly die and only a minority are responsible for new muscle formation. This minority is behaviorally distinct, slowly dividing in tissue culture, but rapidly proliferative after grafting, suggesting a subpopulation with stem cell-like characteristics.
This article was published in J Cell Biol
and referenced in Journal of Stem Cell Research & Therapy