Skeletal muscle has been recognized as an essential source of progenitor or satellite cells, which are primarily responsible for muscle regeneration.
Recently, muscle has also been identified as a valuable source of postnatal stem cells that appear to be distinct from satellite cells and possess the ability to differentiate into other cell lineages.
These cells, named muscle-derived stem cells, possess a high myogenic capacity and effectively regenerate both skeletal and cardiac muscle.
Remarkably, when genetically modified ex vivo to express growth factors, these cells can differentiate into osteogenic and chondrogenic lineages and have been shown to promote the repair of bone and cartilage.
Muscle stem cell-based regenerative therapy and tissue engineering using ex vivo gene therapy, are promising approaches for the treatment of various musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, and urological disorders.