Satellite Cells in Muscular Dystrophy - Lost in Polarity

Trends Mol Med. 2016 Jun;22(6):479-496. doi: 10.1016/j.molmed.2016.04.002. Epub 2016 May 5.


Recent findings employing the mdx mouse model for Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) have revealed that muscle satellite stem cells play a direct role in contributing to disease etiology and progression of DMD, the most common and severe form of muscular dystrophy. Lack of dystrophin expression in DMD has critical consequences in satellite cells including an inability to establish cell polarity, abrogation of asymmetric satellite stem-cell divisions, and failure to enter the myogenic program. Thus, muscle wasting in dystrophic mice is not only caused by myofiber fragility but is exacerbated by intrinsic satellite cell dysfunction leading to impaired regeneration. Despite intense research and clinical efforts, there is still no effective cure for DMD. In this review we highlight recent research advances in DMD and discuss the current state of treatment and, importantly, how we can incorporate satellite cell-targeted therapeutic strategies to correct satellite cell dysfunction in DMD.

Keywords: Duchenne muscular dystrophy; Mark2; Par1b; Pard3; asymmetric division; dystrophin; regenerative myogenesis; satellite cells; stem cell polarity.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Polarity*
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Dystrophin / genetics
  • Dystrophin / metabolism
  • Genetic Therapy
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred mdx
  • Muscle Development
  • Muscle, Skeletal / growth & development*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism*
  • Muscular Dystrophy, Animal
  • Muscular Dystrophy, Duchenne / pathology*
  • Muscular Dystrophy, Duchenne / physiopathology*
  • Muscular Dystrophy, Duchenne / therapy
  • Satellite Cells, Skeletal Muscle / physiology*


  • Dystrophin