Skeletal muscle regeneration via the chemical induction and expansion of myogenic stem cells in situ or in vitro.
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.1038/s41551-021-00696-y
Muscle loss and impairment resulting from traumatic injury can be alleviated by therapies using muscle stem cells. However, collecting sufficient numbers of autologous myogenic stem cells and expanding them efficiently has been challenging. Here we show that myogenic stem cells (predominantly Pax7+ cells)-which were selectively expanded from readily obtainable dermal fibroblasts or skeletal muscle stem cells using a specific cocktail of small molecules and transplanted into muscle injuries in adult, aged or dystrophic mice-led to functional muscle regeneration in the three animal models. We also show that sustained release of the small-molecule cocktail in situ through polymer nanoparticles led to muscle repair by inducing robust activation and expansion of resident satellite cells. Chemically induced stem cell expansion in vitro and in situ may prove to be advantageous for stem cell therapies that aim to regenerate skeletal muscle and other tissues.