Servicio de Información Comunitario sobre Investigación y Desarrollo - CORDIS

Regenerative capacity of human myoblasts in vitro as a function of age

The regenerative capacity of human muscle relies on a population of cells called satellites cells, and is known to decrease with age. The amount of muscle these cells will be able to regenerate depends on the quantity of cells available at the time of degeneration, and their capacity to proliferate before forming new fibres.

We measured in vitro the number of divisions that satellite cells isolated from adults of different ages can achieve in vitro before reaching senescence, and this measurement was correlated with telomere length, which act as a mitotic clock by shortening at each divisions. We found that adult human satellite cells have a proliferation capacity that does not change significantly with age in the adult, and this is confirmed by telomere length.

However, we also have also shown that this capacity is significantly reduced in patients suffering from degenerative diseases where repeated cycles of degeneration-regeneration decrease prematurely the proliferation capacity of human satellite cells. Although these parameters are not the only ones involved in muscle regeneration, telomere length as well as remaining proliferation capacity as measured in vitro are indicative of the regenerative capacity in vivo. Potential applications include therapeutic trials for cell-mediated gene therapy or cellular therapy.

It should be noted that pre-clinical studies emanating from these results are currently being achieved for a clinical trial on patients suffering from Oculo-Pharyngeal Muscular Dystrophy (OPMD).

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