KYOTO – A Japanese research team has found a more efficient way to differentiate human induced pluripotent stem cells into mature myocytes, or muscle cells, it said in a paper posted on the U.S. Plos One online science journal Wednesday.
The team has demonstrated that inducible expression of the myogenic differentiation 1 gene in immature iPS cells for at least five days drives cells along the myogenic lineage, with efficiencies reaching 70 to 90 percent, against around 40 percent in the past.
Myocytes induced in this manner reach maturity within two weeks of differentiation, against the usual four to six weeks, said the team led by Hidetoshi Sakurai of the Kyoto University Center for iPS Cell Research and Application.
The center’s Director Shinya Yamanaka won last year’s Nobel Prize in medicine for creating human iPS cells that are capable of turning into any kind of tissue in the body.
The team also used its induced differentiation technique to successfully re-create the pathological condition of Miyoshi Myopathy, a congenital distal myopathy caused by defective muscle membrane repair, in vitro for the first time in the world.
These findings could not only facilitate the pathological investigation of Miyoshi Myopathy but potentially be applied in modeling of other human muscular diseases by using patient-derived human iPS cells, the team said.