Skeletal muscle stem cells can be isolated from humans up to 17 days after death reports a study published in Nature Communications this week. These cells provide a resource for studying stem cell biology.
Stem cells have been previously isolated from 2 day old cadavers, however in this study Fabrice Chretien and colleagues extracted skeletal muscle stem cells from humans 17 days after death and from mice up to 14 days after death. They found that, in culture, the cells required low levels of oxygen for survival and self-renewal. Cells isolated from mice 4 days after death could also contribute to regenerating fibres in a mouse model of muscle damage. These findings will permit the use of these cells for the study of mechanisms of self-renewal and stem cell biology in the laboratory.