Promising strides have been made by scientists in identifying optimal stem cells for transplantation for therapeutics and general research. However, developments in this direction are restricted to certain types of stem cells. Prominent of those to benefit are bone marrow and neural stem cells. For instance, the understanding of muscle stem cells and the analysis of their biological function in regeneration is not well understood. This is vital for gaining insight into the management of hard-to-cure muscle diseases such as muscular dystrophy.
A team of researchers from the University of Minnesota Medical School has leveraged the potential of 3D imaging technology in their study of the most important area in muscle stem cells called vascular niche. The researchers found that tissue resident muscle stem cells, popularly known as satellite cells, responsible for day-to-day muscle growth and regeneration can act as a potent stem cell for finding a possible cure for severe muscular dystrophy.
The findings are published online on October 4, 2018 in a peer-reviewed journal Cell Stem Cell.
3D Imaging helped Scientists identify role of Satellite Cells in Skeletal Muscle Regeneration
Understanding of molecular pathways for identifying a juxtavascular niche for satellite cells has been beset with the pack of advanced technology in understanding the different stem cells populations. Researchers studied large volumes of stem cells and blood vessels in three dimension in lab and aimed at analyzing the interaction of these in various cells. The researchers found that a subset of satellite cells are in close proximity to capillaries in 3D. They also found that vascular endothelial growth factor derived from these satellite cells is responsible for microvascular patterning in skeletal muscle, one of the most abundant tissue in the body.
The findings can pave way for shedding light on understand the mechanism of aging and finding therapies for muscular dystrophy. The 3D imaging technology was developed by The University Imaging Centers.