Herald of Joy! Stem cells bring hope to patients with burns


A panel of Scientists from the University of Texas, Medical Branch in the US, have discovered a new potential of Stem cells, to treat muscle regeneration in patients with severe burns.

With the escalation of the degree of burns, muscles generally go in for severe atrophy (muscle wasting) due to severe muscle fibre damage of burn injuries.

Persistent muscle loss accompanied by severe weakness and onset of infections are the general complications that can hamper the recovery of a patient with burns.

The medical faculty of the University of Texas, found the satellite stem cells, resident in the skeletal muscle cells, to be responsible for maintaining and regenerating skeletal muscles.  But, following burns the muscle tissue and satellite cells in patients were invariably reduced, due to muscle cell damage caused by injury.

Though the event of burn injury caused cell death, the researchers also unveiled a fact that, the injury along with damage also induced muscle regeneration properties in satellite cells. These satellite stem cells underwent concurrent acute cell death and simultaneous activation to regenerate following burns.

The activation of these satellite cells were forecasted to impact the recovery of lean body mass in patients with severe burns. Thus, the lead researcher Celeste C. Finnerty, Associate Professor at the University of Texas, Medical Branch said, “Our results highlight the therapeutic potential of satellite cells that  can aid in regeneration and preservation of muscle mass, following a severe burn injury.

Additionally, a significant percentage of satellite cells that aid in muscle regeneration, also expressed a protein Ki67, a clinical marker for cellular proliferation, in them.

The lead author of the research Christopher.S.Fry, Assistant Professor at the university of Texas Medical Branch, also found a very high amount of marker protein Ki67 in these patients , which indicated that burn injuries activate  the satellite stem cells to stimulate skeletal muscle regeneration, following the injury.

This study was published in The Journal of Physiology, with the data the research team collected from tissue samples of 12 patients with severe burns versus 12 healthy controls.

The research team used the immunohistochemical process to detect the antigen in cells of the tissue section, to analyse and compare the satellite cell’s volume, its content, activation, cell death (apoptosis) and its muscle fibre regeneration potential.

The lead researcher also noted that further studies are being undertaken to investigate therapies that can prevent satellite cell’s damage and activities that can promote regeneration of skeletal cells in patients with severe burns, to improve their recovery process.

This finding, in future, will definitely prove to be an innovation of stem cell that can cater hope into the lives of patients, with severe burns.

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