A new study published in the journal Science It reveals a unique form of cellular communication that controls muscle repair. In damaged muscle, stem cells must work with immune cells to complete the repair process, but how these cells coordinate to ensure effective removal of dead tissue before new muscle fibers are made remains unknown. Scientists have now shown that a natural substance called hyaluronic acid, which is used in cosmetics and osteoporosis injections, is the key molecule that runs this essential reaction.
“When muscle is damaged, it is important that immune cells quickly enter the tissues and remove the damage before the stem cells can begin to repair,” said Dr. In the study. “Our study shows that muscle stem cells are primed to start repair immediately, but immune cells keep the stem cells in a resting state while the cleaning task is finished. About 40 hours later, once the cleaning task is over, an internal alarm goes off in the muscle stem cells allowing them to wake up. and start repairing.
Dr. Dilworth and his team identified hyaluronic acid as a key ingredient in this internal alarm clock that tells muscle stem cells when to wake up. When muscle damage occurs, stem cells begin to produce and coat themselves with hyaluronic acid. Once the coat is thick enough, it blocks the sleep signal from the immune cells and causes the muscle stem cells to wake up.
Using mice and human tissue, Dr. Dilworth and his team also discovered how muscle stem cells control hyaluronic acid production using epigenetic marks on the Has2 gene.
Lead author Dr. Kiran Nka, a research co-author with Dr Dilworth who conducted this research as part of his post-doctoral studies, said. “If we can find a way to boost hyaluronic acid production in the muscle stem cells of elderly people, it may help with muscle repair.”
The authors note that the regenerative effect of hyaluronic acid appears to be dependent on its production by muscle stem cells. The team is currently investigating whether drugs that modify the epigenetics of muscle stem cells can be used to increase their production of hyaluronic acid.
A study in mice shows that lab-grown, self-sustaining muscle cells repair injury and disease
Kiran Naka et al, JMJD3-activated hyaluronan synthesis leads to muscle regeneration in an inflammatory environment, Science (2022). DOI: 10.1126/science.abm9735. www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.abm9735
Provided by Ottawa Hospital
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