, Volume 199, Issue 5, pp 391-396

Recruitment of bone-marrow-derived cells by skeletal and cardiac muscle in adult dystrophic mdx mice

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 It is commonly accepted, that regenerative capacity of striated muscle is confined to skeletal muscle by activation of satellite cells that normally reside quiescent between the plasmalemma and the basement membrane of muscle fibers. Muscular dystrophies are characterized by repetitive cycles of de- and regeneration of skeletal muscle fibers and by the frequent involvement of the cardiac muscle. Since during the longstanding course of muscular dystrophies there is a permanent demand of myogenic progenitors we hypothesized that this may necessitate a recruitment of additional myogenic precursors from an undifferentiated, permanently renewed cell pool, such as bone marrow (BM) cells. To this end normal and dystrophic (mdx) female mice received bone marrow transplantation (BMT) from normal congenic male donor mice. After 70 days, histological sections of skeletal and cardiac muscle from BMT mice were probed for the donor-derived Y chromosomes. In normal BMT recipients, no Y chromosome-containing myonuclei were detected, either in skeletal or in cardiac muscle. However, in all samples from dystrophic mdx skeletal muscles Y chromosome-specific signals were detected within muscle fiber nuclei, which additionally were found to express the myoregulatory proteins myogenin and myf-5. Moreover, in the hearts of BMT-mdx mice single cardiomyocytes with donor derived nuclei were identified, indicating, that even cardiac muscle cells are able to regenerate by recruitment of circulating BM-derived progenitors. Our findings suggest that further characterization and identification of the BM cells capable of undergoing myogenic differentiation may have an outstanding impact on therapeutic strategies for diseases of skeletal and cardiac muscle.

Accepted: 27 October 1998