MDA has awarded a research grant totaling $375,000 over three years to David Goldhamer, associate professor, director of the Center for Regenerative Biology, and associate director of the UConn Stem Cell Institute at the University of Connecticut in Storrs. The new funds will help support Goldhamer’s study of muscle stem cells and the repair of damaged muscle in Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD).
"Satellite" cells are adult muscle stem cells that are responsible for postnatal muscle growth and the repair of damaged muscle in injury and disease. In DMD, accumulation of intramuscular fat and connective tissue represent hallmarks of advanced disease, and the presence of these non-muscle tissues significantly affects muscle structure and function.
Satellite cells have been implicated as a possible cell of origin for increased fat and fibrotic (scarred) tissue in DMD muscle, but their involvement remains uncertain and controversial.
Using a research mouse model with a DMD-like disease, Goldhamer and colleagues will examine whether satellite cells promote increased fat and fibrosis in diseased muscle. In addition, the team will study regulators of muscle regeneration that may interact with or regulate satellite cell functions.
Results from Goldhamer’s work may help determine the potential benefits of modulating satellite cell behavior as a therapeutic strategy in DMD.
Funding for this MDA grant began February 1, 2011.