Natural Compound Hyaluronic Acid Awakens Stem Cells to Repair Damaged Muscles

When a muscle fiber is damaged, the stem cells (in pink) begin to produce and coat themselves with hyaluronic acid (pale green outline). Once the coating becomes thick enough, it causes muscle stem cells to wake up. Credit: Dr Kiran Nakka

A new study published in the journal Science reveals a unique form of cellular communication that controls muscle repair. In damaged muscles, stem cells must work with immune cells to complete the repair process, but how these cells coordinate to ensure the efficient removal of dead tissue before making new muscle fibers remains unknown. Scientists have now shown that a natural substance called hyaluronic acid, used in cosmetics and injections for osteoarthritis, is the key molecule that mediates this fundamental interaction.

“When muscles are damaged, it’s important for immune cells to quickly enter the tissues and clear up the damage before the stem cells begin to repair themselves,” said Dr. Jeffrey Dilworth, senior scientist at The Hospital. Ottawa and University of Ottawa professor and lead author. on the study. “Our study shows that the muscle stem cells are ready to start repairing themselves immediately, but the immune cells keep the stem cells in a quiescent state while they complete the cleaning job. After about 40 hours, once the job cleaning is complete, an internal alarm goes off in the muscle stem cells, allowing them to wake up and begin to repair themselves.”

Dr. Dilworth and his team have identified hyaluronic acid as the key ingredient in this internal wake-up call that tells muscle stem cells when to wake up. When muscle damage occurs, stem cells begin to produce and coat themselves with hyaluronic acid. Once the coating becomes thick enough, it blocks the sleep signal from immune cells and causes muscle stem cells to wake up.

Using mouse and human tissue, Dr. Dilworth and his team also discovered how muscle stem cells control hyaluronic acid production using epigenetic marks on the Has2 gene.

Natural Compound Hyaluronic Acid Awakens Stem Cells to Repair Damaged Muscles

Lead author Dr. Kiran Nakka, research associate of Dr. Jeffrey Dilworth, conducted this research as part of his postdoctoral studies. Credit: The Ottawa Hospital

“Interestingly, aging is associated with chronic inflammation, muscle weakness, and a reduced ability of muscle stem cells to wake up and repair damage,” said lead author Dr Kiran Nakka. , a research associate of Dr. Dilworth who conducted this research as part of his postdoctoral studies. “If we could find a way to improve hyaluronic acid production in muscle stem cells in older people, it could help with muscle repair.”

The authors note that the regenerative effect of hyaluronic acid appears to depend on its production by muscle stem cells. The team is currently investigating whether drugs that alter the epigenetics of muscle stem cells could be used to increase their production of hyaluronic acid.


Self-sufficient lab-grown muscle cells repair injury and disease, mouse study finds


More information:
Kiran Nakka et al, JMJD3-activated hyaluronan synthesis drives muscle regeneration in an inflammatory environment, Science (2022). DOI: 10.1126/science.abm9735. www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.abm9735

Provided by The Ottawa Hospital

Quote: Natural Compound Hyaluranic Acid Awakens Stem Cells to Repair Damaged Muscles (2022, Aug 4) Retrieved August 5, 2022 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-08-hyaluranic-acid-naturally -compound-awakens.html

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