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U of M researchers utilize genetically corrected stem cells to spark muscle regeneration
Date:3/5/2013

how each is perceived by the immune system. Because dystrophin is absent in muscular dystrophy patients, its presence can prompt a devastating immune system response. But in those same patients, utrophin is active and functional, making it essentially "invisible" to the immune system. This invisibility allows the micro-utrophin to replace the dystrophin and progress the process of building and repairing muscle fiber within the body.

The third technology utilized is a method to produce skeletal muscle stem cells from pluripotent cells a process developed in the laboratory of Rita Perlingeiro, Ph.D., the principal investigator of the latest study.

Perlingeiro's technology involves giving pluripotent cells a short pulse of a muscle stem cell protein called Pax3. The Pax3 protein pushes the pluripotent cells to become muscle stem cells, and allows them to be expanded exponentially in number. The Pax3-induced muscle stem cells were then transplanted back into the same strain of muscular dystrophy mice from which the pluripotent stem cells were originally derived.

Combined, the platforms created muscle-generating stem cells that would not be rejected by the body's immune system. According to Perlingeiro, the transplanted cells performed well in the dystrophic mice, generating functional muscle and responding to muscle fiber injury.

"We were pleased to find the newly formed myofibers expressed the markers of the correction, including utrophin," said Perlingeiro, a Lillehei endowed scholar within the Lillehei Heart Institute and an associate professor in the University of Minnesota Medical School. "However, a very important question following transplantation is if these corrected cells would self-renew, and produce new muscle stem cells in addition to the new muscle fibers."

By injuring the transplanted muscle and watching it repair itself, the researchers demonstrated that the cell transplants endowed the recipien
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Contact: Caroline Marin
crmarin@umn.edu
612-624-5680
University of Minnesota Academic Health Center
Source:Eurekalert

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