A recently published study by University of Illinois Kinesiology and Community Health Professor Marni Boppart has identified mesenchymal stem cells [MSCs] as a tool for rejuvenating muscle to prevent age-related injuries and disabilities. In addition to their ability to differentiate into other cell types, MSCs were found to secrete growth factors that stimulate the activation of the multiple cell types comprising skeletal muscle, including muscle precursor cells and satellite cells, which lose function with age.
Professor Linda Greensmith and her team of researchers from University College London and King’s College London have utilized stem cells to return muscle function to patients paralyzed by nerve damage or spinal cord injury. In a paralyzed animal model, the scientists observed transplanted stem cells growing along the injured neurons to restore motor capability to disabled muscle. Blue light pulses were then used to control the newly restored muscle movement.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins University, Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery find that mesenchymal stem cells [the type of stem cells found in teeth] promoted nerve regeneration in animal models [in this case - rodents] with paralyzing leg injuries. According to the researchers, "Mesenchymal stem cells may be a promising add-on therapy to help damaged nerves regenerate.” The study found that the rodents treated with their own stem cells responded best to the treatment. Those treated with donated cells from dissimilar rodent types – a situation most similar to human transplants – rejected their new limbs.