Muscle: a source of progenitor cells for bone fracture healing
Bone and Cartilage Research Unit, University of Liège, CHU Sart-Tilman, 4000 Liège, Belgium
BMC Medicine 2011, 9:136 doi:10.1186/1741-7015-9-136Published: 22 December 2011
Bone repair failure is a major complication of open fracture, leading to non-union of broken bone extremities and movement at the fracture site. This results in a serious disability for patients. The role played by the periosteum and bone marrow progenitors in bone repair is now well documented. In contrast, limited information is available on the role played by myogenic progenitor cells in bone repair. In a recent article published in BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, Liu et al. compared the presence of myogenic progenitor (MyoD lineage cells) in closed and open fractures. They showed that myogenic progenitors are present in open, but not closed fractures, suggesting that muscle satellite cells may colonize the fracture site in the absence of intact periosteum. Interestingly, these progenitors sequentially expressed a chondrogenic and, thereafter, an osteoblastic phenotype, suggestive of a functional role in the repair process. This finding opens up new perspectives for the research of orthopedic surgical methods, which could maximize myogenic progenitor access and mobilization to augment bone repair.