Nothing quite like a literal lab rat to showcase the latest in medical developments, is there? Duke University researchers have successfully created living skeletal muscle that pretty much resembles the real deal, all the way down to the ability to repair itself. This unique self-healing artificial muscle would mean the days of growing muscles in a science lab that actually function as intended are going to be propelled into even deeper levels of research, after numerous failed attempts. The answer to previous failures? Ensuring that the artificial muscle has its fair supply of muscle stem cells.
Muscle stem cells are also known as satellite cells, and in our bodies, they tend to be ready to make the dash to repair injured muscles. Of course, their presence is not enough, they will still need to be stashed away in a special microenvironment that is known as a niche.
Scientist Juhas shared, “Simply implanting satellite cells or less-developed muscle doesn’t work as well. The well-developed muscle we made provides niches for satellite cells to live in, and, when needed, to restore the robust musculature and its function.” Niches can be described to be the equivalent of a reservoir of tiny medics that are at the beck and call of any injury. Will it change modern sports science as we know it, and will athletes be able to recover a whole lot faster than usual?
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