Muscle-derived stem cells (MDSCs) have been successfully transplanted into both skeletal (1) and cardiac muscle (2) of dystrophin-deficient (mdx) mice, and show potential for improving cardiac and skeletal dysfunction in diseases like Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). Our previous study explored the regeneration of dystrophin-expressing myocytes following MDSC transplantation into environments with distinct blood flow and chemical/mechanical stimulation attributes. After MDSC transplantation within left ventricular myocardium and gastrocnemius (GN) muscles of the same mdx mice, significantly more dystrophin-positive fibers were found within the myocardium than in the GN. We hypothesized that the differences in mechanical loading of the two environments influenced the transplantation and explored whether using MDSCs exposed to mechanical stimulation prior to transplantation could improve transplantation. Our study shows increased engraftment into the heart and GN muscle for cells pretreated with mechanical stretch for 24 hours. This increase was significant for transplantation into the heart. These studies have implications in a variety of applications including mechanotransduction, stem cell biology, and Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

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