Adult bone marrow-derived stem cells in muscle connective tissue and satellite cell niches

Am J Pathol. 2004 Mar;164(3):773-9. doi: 10.1016/S0002-9440(10)63165-3.


Skeletal muscle includes satellite cells, which reside beneath the muscle fiber basal lamina and mainly represent committed myogenic precursor cells, and multipotent stem cells of unknown origin that are present in muscle connective tissue, express the stem cell markers Sca-1 and CD34, and can differentiate into different cell types. We tracked bone marrow (BM)-derived stem cells in both muscle connective tissue and satellite cell niches of irradiated mice transplanted with green fluorescent protein (GFP)-expressing BM cells. An increasing number of GFP+ mononucleated cells, located both inside and outside of the muscle fiber basal lamina, were observed 1, 3, and 6 months after transplantation. Sublaminal cells expressed unambiguous satellite cell markers (M-cadherin, Pax7, NCAM) and fused into scattered GFP+ muscle fibers. In muscle connective tissue there were GFP+ cells located close to blood vessels that expressed the ScaI or CD34 stem-cell antigens. The rate of settlement of extra- and intralaminal compartments by BM-derived cells was compatible with the view that extralaminal cells constitute a reservoir of satellite cells. We conclude that both muscle satellite cells and stem cell marker-expressing cells located in muscle connective tissue can derive from BM in adulthood.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone Marrow Cells / physiology*
  • Bone Marrow Transplantation*
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology
  • Cell Lineage
  • Connective Tissue / physiology*
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Luminescent Proteins
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Muscle, Skeletal / cytology*
  • Satellite Cells, Skeletal Muscle / cytology*
  • Stem Cells / cytology*


  • Luminescent Proteins
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins