New research shows young muscle stem cells can improve adult muscle regeneration.
“We found that fetal MuSCs remodel their microenvironment by secreting specific proteins, and then examined whether that same microenvironment can encourage adult MuSCs to more efficiently generate new muscle. It does, which means that how adult MuSCs normally support muscle growth is not an intrinsic characteristic, but can be changed,” explained Matthew Tierney, a graduate student at SBP and first author of the study.
The proteins that fetal MuSCs secrete are part of the extracellular matrix (ECM), the meshwork of strand-like proteins and starches that make up the structure of MuSCs’ microenvironment. As fetal MuSCs mature into adult MuSCs, they take on different responsibilities and help change their microenvironment over time to support their distinct functions. Fetal MuSCs are geared toward creating new muscle, whereas adult MuSCs repair damaged muscle and self-replicate to sustain the pool of stem cells to mend future injuries.