News from CEXS-UPF
Most of the tissues in the adult human body have the ability to regenerate themselves in the event of damage or injury. But each time this regeneration takes place, it puts the maintenance of the identity (memory) of the cells of this tissue to the test. A process of cellular plasticity has been identified, that changes the phenotype of muscle cells causing dystrophy.
Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) is a rare and unfortunately fatal degenerative disease in which the lack of a critical protein for the functioning of muscle fibres, dystrophin, gives rise to successive cycles of muscle degeneration/regeneration.
In patients with DMD the regenerative capacity of skeletal muscle gradually declines and the muscle is substituted by fibrotic tissue that prevents the function of muscles of vital importance such as the diaphragm and the heart.
A study published on 14 May in Stem Cell Reports by the group led by Pura Muñoz-Cánoves, ICREA research professor and head of the Cell Biology Unit of the Department of Experimental and Health Sciences (CEXS) at Pompeu Fabra University and a member of CIBERNED, has demonstrated the existence of cells in dystrophic muscle that gain plasticity, preventing them from maintaining their original cell identity causing muscle fibrosis.
Patrizia Pessina, Yacine Kharraz, Mercè Jardí, So-ichiro Fukada, Antonio L. Serrano, Eusebio Perdiguero and Pura Muñoz-Cánoves, (2015), "Fibrogenic cell plasticity blunts tissue regeneration and aggravates muscular dystrophy", Stem Cell Reports, 14 May