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Promoting repair of dystrophic muscles is a major goal in the treatment of muscular dystrophies but is complicated by the incomplete knowledge of the cellular and molecular events that drive muscle regeneration.
Answers could lie in better understanding muscle repair–which resembles a delicate cellular dance choreographed by special cells called fibro-adipogenic progenitors (FAPs). Researchers already know these cells have a dark side–they are also responsible for the muscle wasting and scarring that occurs during Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD).
Now, scientists at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute (SBP) have revealed that FAPs don’t have just one identity–but several distinct identities that emerge during key stages of muscle regeneration. Importantly, the FAPs that drive the symptoms of DMD have defined markers, meaning they could be targeted for drug development. The study was published in Nature Communications.
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