Human myogenic endothelial cells exhibit chondrogenic and osteogenic potentials at the clonal level

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We have previously reported the high regenerative potential of murine muscle-derived stem cells (mMDSCs) that are capable of differentiating into multiple mesodermal cell lineages, including myogenic, endothelial, chondrocytic, and osteoblastic cells. Recently, we described a putative human counterpart of mMDSCs, the myogenic endothelial cells (MECs), in adult human skeletal muscle, which efficiently repair/regenerate the injured and dystrophic skeletal muscle as well as the ischemic heart in animal disease models. Nevertheless it remained unclear whether human MECs, at the clonal level, preserve mMDSC-like chondrogenic and osteogenic potentials and classic stem cell characteristics including high proliferation and resistance to stress. Herein, we demonstrated that MECs, sorted from fresh postnatal human skeletal muscle biopsies, can be grown clonally and exhibit robust resistance to oxidative stress with no tumorigeneity. MEC clones were capable of differentiating into chondrocytes and osteoblasts under inductive conditions in vitro and participated in cartilage and bone formation in vivo. Additionally, adipogenic and angiogenic potentials of clonal MECs (cMECs) were observed. Overall, our study showed that cMECs not only display typical properties of adult stem cells but also exhibit chondrogenic and osteogenic capacities in vitro and in vivo, suggesting their potential applications in articular cartilage and bone repair/regeneration.

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