New Protein May Be Key to Muscle Repair
Scientists from Johns Hopkins University located a specific stem cell protein that plays an important role in the body’s ability to regenerate damaged muscle tissue. This discovery could lead to improved treatments for muscle degeneration caused by aging or neuromuscular diseases, like muscular dystrophy.
Research shows that a type of protein called an integrin, which is found on the surface of stem cells, helps the cells to “sense” and interact with surrounding tissue. The way stem cells interact with their surroundings affects the life and regeneration of the cells.
According to the study, protein β1-integrin helps undifferentiated stem cells transform into muscle tissue when damage to the surrounding muscle tissue has occurred. This specific protein increases new muscle growth by as much as 50%. Researchers report, “without β1-integrin, stem cells could not sustain growth after muscle tissue injury.” Boosting the function of this protein could help repair muscle damage.
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