• Open Access

Telocytes within human skeletal muscle stem cell niche


Oana I. GAVRILIUC, Ph.D., Department of Physiology, University of Medicine and Pharmacy “Victor Babes” Timisoara,
Pta. E. Murgu No. 2, RO-300041 Timisoara, Romania.
Tel.: +40-728-301083
Fax: +40-256-490507
E-mail: oana_gav@yahoo.com


Human skeletal muscle tissue displays specific cellular architecture easily damaged during individual existence, requiring multiple resources for regeneration. Congruent with local prerequisites, heterogeneous muscle stem cells (MuSCs) are present in the muscle interstitium. In this study, we aimed to characterize the properties of human muscle interstitial cells that had the characteristic morphology of telocytes (TCs). Immunocytochemistry and immunofluorescence showed that cells with TC morphology stained positive for c-kit/CD117 and VEGF. C-kit positive TCs were separated with magnetic-activated cell sorting, cultured in vitro and expanded for study. These cells exhibited high proliferation capacity (60% expressed endoglin/CD105 and 80% expressed nuclear Ki67). They also exhibited pluripotent capacity limited to Oct4 nuclear staining. In addition, 90% of c-kit positive TCs expressed VEGF. C-kit negative cells in the MuSCs population exhibited fibroblast-like morphology, low trilineage differential potential and negative VEGF staining. These results suggested that c-kit/CD117 positive TCs represented a unique cell type within the MuSC niche.