Recent research has found that specially treated repair stem cells, when transplanted into damaged muscle tissue, can help not only to repair but also make the muscles stronger and bigger. This treatment was also seen to stop the muscles aging.
This was an unexpected result detected by researchers who did not expect the stem cells to have such a dramatic, almost miraculous effect on muscles.
This finding has offered hope of developing new treatments to halt or reverse muscle wasting which is commonly seem among the elderly.
The stem cell transplants were conducted on mice – it was seen that when 10 to 50 stem cells from a donor mouse were transplanted in a host mouse, the latter’s muscles aging was permanently altered and muscle mass and strength were seen to be enhanced.
The research published in the Science Translational Medicine observed that transplanted material seemed to kick the stem cells to a high gear for self-renewal, essentially taking over the production of muscle cells.
However this same beneficial impact was not to be seen when the transplant was conducted in respect of healthy limb muscles.
Researchers are therefore hopeful that further development of this technique could make it applicable to humans – it could help with chronic degenerative diseases like muscular dystrophy and also combat the loss of muscle mass, strength and size that usually accompany the process of aging.