The role of stem cells in skeletal and cardiac muscle repair

M.D. Grounds, J.D. White, N. Rosenthal, M.A. Bogoyevitch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

181 Citations (Scopus)


In postnatal muscle, skeletal muscle precursors (myoblasts) can be derived from satellite cells (reserve cells located on the surface of mature myofibers) or from cells lying beyond the myofiber, e.g., interstitial connective tissue or bone marrow. Both of these classes of cells may have stem cell properties. In addition, the heretical idea that post-mitotic myonuclei lying within mature myofibers might be able to re-form myoblasts or stem cells is examined and related to recent observations for similar post-mitotic cardiomyocytes. In adult hearts (which previously were not considered capable of repair), the role of replicating endogenous cardiomyocytes and the recruitment of other (stem) cells into cardiomyocytes for new cardiac muscle formation has recently attracted much attention. The relative contribution of these various sources of precursor cells in postnatal muscles and the factors that may enhance stem cell participation in the formation of new skeletal and cardiac muscle in vivo are the focus of this review. We concluded that, although many endogenous cell types can be converted to skeletal muscle, the contribution of non-myogenic cells to the formation of new postnatal skeletal muscle in vivo appears to be negligible. Whether the recruitment of such cells to the myogenic lineage can be significantly enhanced by specific inducers and the appropriate microenvironment is a current topic of intense interest. However, dermal fibroblasts appear promising as a realistic alternative source of exogenous myoblasts for transplantation purposes. For heart muscle, experiments showing the participation of bone marrow-derived stem cells and endothelial cells in the repair of damaged cardiac muscle are encouraging.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)589-610
JournalJournal of Histochemistry & Cytochemistry
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2002


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