Most “normal” individuals might be more alarmed about whether their walking posture is sophisticated or buoyant but seldom think how painful and tedious this simple task is for individuals with infirmities. However, for patients with muscular dystrophy, walking is not only a challenge but can also fall abruptly resulting in even more danger. They also struggle with standing difficulty which has become the norm for several of these patients. The most resentful of the patients is to be able to walk like those unaffected and lead usual school, work, and social lives.
Muscular dystrophy is an assemblage of primary skeletal muscle diseases triggered by genetic elements. The key clinical manifestations of the ailment are slow progressive muscle atrophy, muscle weakness and diverse levels of movement disorders. Amid numerous kinds of muscular dystrophy, Duchenne (DMD) has the highest incidence, with one out of 3,600 patients being plagued by DMD. DMD is serious; individuals are often incapacitated in their early years and DMD can result in death. DMD is the most representative ailment of hereditary muscular dystrophy.
Skeletal muscle is one of the most copious tissues in the human body and is also the key catalyst of movement, encompassing a huge number of mature muscle cells that can segregate into myoblast. Myoblast can unite with each other to become multi nucleated muscle fibers and is the creation of the elementary structure of skeletal muscle. Since genetic factors of DMD patients cause morphological and structural aberrations of muscle cells, muscle cell impairment, irreversible necrosis or even disappearance of muscle fibers, which results in muscle atrophy, diminishing muscle stem cells, and the incapability to repair impaired muscle tissue. This forms a vicious spiral. Lastly, patients with systemic muscle atrophy typically expire because of respiratory catastrophe or heart failure.
If stem cells are embedded in the muscle of muscular dystrophy patients, the development and differentiation of the formation of new healthy muscle fibers will substitute the original atrophy of muscle fibers and then the patient’s muscle is likely to recuperate strength. In recent years, applications of stem cell treatment in ischemic heart disease, ischemic lower limb vascular disease, osteonecrosis of femoral head (ONFH), spinal cord injury and other serious ailments has an amazing curative effect. Whether stem cells can be used to replenish and heal the impaired muscle cells has become an outstanding subject.
In recent years, the research outcomes show that mesenchymal stem cells can be induced to differentiate into muscle cells in vitro. In 1998, it was the first time to demonstrate that bone marrow derived cells were able to replenish the impaired muscle from the circulation and participation in the repair of muscle, which offers a theoretical basis for the treatment of muscular dystrophy. In addition of self-renewal and proliferation, mesenchymal stem cells also have controlled yet large differential potential and low immunity, and are an idyllic stem cell transplantation cell type in the treatment of progressive muscular dystrophy.
When mesenchymal stem cells are transplanted into the patient, the blood circulation is improved by discharging an enormous number of cytokines to repair the impaired muscle cells. Cytokines can also repair the impaired muscle membrane, rectify defective expression of functional protein, overhaul the injured nerve, fortify the communication signal, inhibit or decrease muscle cells lesions, upsurge volume, strength, functions of the muscle, while revamping the damaged muscle tissue constantly. MSCs can be segregated into small amount of muscle cells to improve the patients’ muscle strength and replenish or substitute muscle stem cells.
In 2010, the China General Practice printed an article about mesenchymal stem cells for the treatment of the clinical curative effect of Duchenne muscular dystrophy. From June 2007 to March 2009, 218 out of 269 cases (81%) of DMD patients with stem cell treatment had experienced improvement on muscle strength after transplantation. Walking distance was stretched. Action was more malleable. Acra was warm. Appetite was upgraded. Life qualities of the patients were amended. No hostile reaction and ethical debate was found during the treatment because of the cell type and source. Stem cell therapy can delay the headway of the disease and improve life quality of the patients. It is an effective technique for the treatment of Duchenne muscular dystrophy.
Stem cell therapy has led to a rebellion in the world of medicine. With the expanding of research, it is found that stem cell therapy has an unrivaled advantage equating to the past routine of medical treatment. Although there is still a deficiency of huge sample data, we believe that stem cell and general cell therapy technology will become a conventional therapy as operation after drug treatment in the future.