Skeletal muscle contains two types of stem cells: satellite cells, which function as myogenic precursors, and a population of multipotent adult stem cells. Satellite cells are believed to form a stable, self-renewing pool of stem cells in adult muscle where they function in tissue growth and repair. An additional stem cell population in adult muscle displays a remarkable capacity to differentiate into hematopoietic cells as well as muscle following transplantation. This article discusses the characteristics and properties of these cell populations, the relationship between them, and the potential for stem cell-based muscle therapeutics.
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We wish to thank Claire Palmer and Dr. Anthony Scime for careful reading of the manuscript. This work was supported by grants to M.A.R. from the Muscular Dystrophy Association, the National Institutes of Health, and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. M.A.R. is a Research Scientist of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, and holds the Canada Research Chair in Molecular Genetics. P.S. is supported by a scholarship from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.