Each year thousands of people receive medical treatment for severe burns. These burns are treated in a variety of different facilities, but most have the same outcome: cell loss and muscle regeneration. A new study conducted by researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch and published in The Journal of Physiology has looked more closely at satellite cells, a type of stem cell in skeletal muscle cells, that essentially activates when a muscle is damaged. This is a major find for researchers who can now look more closely at satellite cells and the role they play in muscle regeneration.
"Researchers can now look more closely at satellite cells and how they play role in muscle regeneration."
Celeste Finnerty, lead investigator and associate professor at the University of Texas Medical Branch, weighed in on the groundbreaking study and what the future holds for researchers.
"Our results highlight the therapeutic potential of satellite cells to aid regeneration and preservation of muscle mass following a severe burn injury," Finnerty said, according to a release. "Future studies can now investigate therapies that can prevent satellite cells from cell death and promote their activity to regenerate skeletal cells, improving the recovery of severe burns patients." She continued by saying, "But before this can happen, it is essential to fully understand how these cells respond to burn injuries."
Researchers compared 12 patients with severe burns with 12 patients who did not have them. They studied satellite cells in both groups, and regeneration properties, and the activation and death of cells. What they found was astonishing. Satellite cells in burn patients receive mixed signals that caused cell death and encouraged muscle regeneration.
As Finnerty mentioned, further studies are needed to determine how cell death and muscle regeneration can be prevented, but in the meantime this research has given hope to thousands of burn victims.