Stem cells that aid in healing disease and injury in skeletal muscle have been found inside muscles in greater numbers after exercise, according to a new animal study at the University of Illinois.
Just one exercise session increases the number of muscle-derived mesenchymal stem cells (mMSCs) in mice, according to Beckman Institute researcher Marni Boppart. Dr. Bopart is an assistant professor of kinesiology and community health at the University of Illinois.
mMSCs can differentiate (change) into many different cell types and are found throughout the body. For the first time, this study also showed that they also facilitate tissue healing indirectly.
Bopart said, “What we’ve been able to show in this paper and our current work is that mMSCs are not directly contributing to muscle growth, but do in fact secrete a variety of different factors that positively impact muscle growth.”
Bopart believes that these secreted factors, which specifically respond to mechanical strain are an important step toward treatments that can prevent muscle loss that occurs with aging.
This work was reported in the journal PlosOne.