The differentiation potential of skeletal muscle-derived stem cells (MDSCs) after in vitro culture and in vivo transplantation has been extensively studied. However, the clonal multipotency of MDSCs has yet to be fully determined. Here, we show that single skeletal muscle-derived CD34−/CD45− (skeletal muscle-derived double negative [Sk-DN]) cells exhibit clonal multipotency that can give rise to myogenic, vasculogenic, and neural cell lineages after in vivo single cell-derived single sphere implantation and in vitro clonal single cell culture. Muscles from green fluorescent protein (GFP) transgenic mice were enzymatically dissociated and sorted based on CD34 and CD45. Sk-DN cells were clone-sorted into a 96-well plate and were cultured in collagen-based medium with basic fibroblast growth factor and epidermal growth factor for 14 days. Individual colony-forming units (CFUs) were then transplanted directly into severely damaged muscle together with 1 × 105 competitive carrier Sk-DN cells obtained from wild-type mice muscle expanded for 5 days under the same culture conditions using 35-mm culture dishes. Four weeks after transplantation, implanted GFP+ cells demonstrated differentiation into endothelial, vascular smooth muscle, skeletal muscle, and neural cell (Schwann cell) lineages. This multipotency was also confirmed by expression of mRNA markers for myogenic (MyoD, myf5), neural (Musashi-1, Nestin, neural cell adhesion molecule-1, peripheral myelin protein-22, Nucleostemin), and vascular (α-smooth muscle actin, smoothelin, vascular endothelial-cadherin, tyrosine kinase-endothelial) stem cells by clonal (single-cell derived) single-sphere reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction. Approximately 70% of clonal CFUs exhibited expression of all three cell lineages. These findings support the notion that Sk-DN cells are a useful tool for damaged muscle-related tissue reconstitution by synchronized vasculogenesis, myogenesis, and neurogenesis.
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