A team at EARA member the Max Delbrück Center, Berlin, Germany have examined how muscles are maintained and grow, using mice.
New muscle tissue is generated after injury, or sports activity, thanks to the stem cells present in the tissue which will develop into muscle cells when necessary.
The group discovered that, in mice, the stem cells are maintained by proteins which appear and disappear periodically, and only when the level of these proteins are stable, would the cells change to become muscle cells.
The group hope that increasing understanding of the balance between stem and muscle cells in the tissue will pave the way for new treatments.
“Once we gain a better understanding of the whole process, we will be able to better help people with muscular disorders whose natural capacity for muscle regeneration has been impaired”, said group leader Professor Carmen Birchmeier.