Flk-1+ adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells differentiate into skeletal muscle satellite cells and ameliorate muscular dystrophy in mdx mice.Stem Cells Dev. 2007 Oct; 16(5):695-706.SC
Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is a severe hereditary disease characterized by the absence of dystrophin on the sarcolemma of muscle fiber. This absence results in widespread muscle damage and satellite cell activation. After depletion of the satellite cell pool, skeletal muscle is then invariably replaced by connective tissue, leading to progressive muscle weakness. Herein, we isolated Flk-1(+) mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) from adult adipose tissue and induced them to differentiate into skeletal muscle cells in culture. Within mdx mice, an animal model of DMD, adipose tissue-derived Flk-1(+) MSCs (AD-MSCs) homed to and differentiated into cells that repaired injured muscle tissue. This repair correlated with reconstitution of dystrophin expression on the damaged fibers. Flk-1(+) AD-MSCs also differentiated into muscle satellite cells. This differentiation may have accounted for long-term reconstitution. These cells also differentiated into endothelial cells, thereby possibly improving fiber regeneration as a result of the induced angiogenesis. Therefore, Flk-1(+) AD-MSC transplants may repair muscular dystrophy.