Stem cell therapy for muscular dystrophy

Expert Opin Biol Ther. 2004 Jan;4(1):1-9. doi: 10.1517/14712598.4.1.1.


Muscular dystrophy is a heterogeneous group of neuromuscular disorders that manifests as progressive muscle weakness, muscle wasting and, in many cases, death. Although there has been enormous progress in the molecular understanding of muscular dystrophy, there is still no cure. There are, however, several different therapeutic options under investigation, including adult-derived stem cell transplantation. Encouraging and pioneering experiments in mouse models for Duchenne's muscular dystrophy (DMD) demonstrated that myoblasts could be transplanted into dystrophic muscle; these myoblasts repaired a small proportion of damaged myofibres. Subsequent work has been devoted to optimisation of this technique. In doing so, a number of adult-derived stem cells have been isolated, characterised and used in promising animal transplantation experiments. Further research is ongoing, and is clearly necessary to make this therapy a viable treatment option for patients with muscular dystrophy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Muscular Dystrophies / physiopathology
  • Muscular Dystrophies / surgery*
  • Stem Cell Transplantation / methods*