The cellular substrate underlying aberrant craniofacial connective tissue accumulation that occurs in disorders such as congenital infiltration of the face (CILF) remain elusive. Here we analyze the in vivo properties of a recently identified population of neural crest-derived CD31-:CD45-:alpha7-:Sca1+:PDGFRa+ fibro/adipogenic progenitors (NCFAPs). In serial transplantation experiments in which NCFAPs were prospectively purified and transplanted into wild type mice, NCFAPs were found to be capable of self-renewal while keeping their adipogenic potential. NCFAPs constitute the main responsive FAP fraction following acute masseter muscle damage, surpassing the number of mesoderm-derived FAPs (MFAPs) during the regenerative response. Lastly, NCFAPs differentiate into adipocytes during muscle regeneration in response to pro-adipogenic systemic cues. Altogether our data indicate that NCFAPs are a population of stem/primitive progenitor cells primarily involved in craniofacial muscle regeneration that can cause tissue degeneration when the damage co-occurs with an obesity inducing diet.
Keywords: Fibro/adipogenic progenitors; Muscle regeneration; Neural crest.
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