Characterization of DLK1+ cells emerging during skeletal muscle remodeling in response to myositis, myopathies, and acute injury

Ditte C Andersen, Stine J Petersson, Louise H Jørgensen, Peter Bollen, Pernille B Jensen, Børge Teisner, Henrik D Schroeder, Charlotte H Jensen

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Delta like 1 (DLK1) has been proposed to act as a regulator of cell fate determination and is linked to the development of various tissues including skeletal muscle. Herein we further investigated DLK1 expression during skeletal muscle remodeling. Although practically absent in normal adult muscle, DLK1 was upregulated in all human myopathies analyzed, including Duchenne- and Becker muscular dystrophies. Substantial numbers of DLK1(+) satellite cells were observed in normal neonatal and Duchenne muscle, and furthermore, myogenic DLK1(+) cells were identified during muscle regeneration in animal models in which the peak expression of Dlk1 mRNA and protein coincided with that of myoblast differentiation and fusion. In addition to perivascular DLK1(+) cells, interstitial DLK1(+) cells were numerous in regenerating muscle, and in agreement with colocalization studies of DLK1 and CD90/DDR2, qPCR of fluorescence-activated cell sorting DLK1(+) and DLK1(-) cells revealed that the majority of DLK1(+) cells isolated at day 7 of regeneration had a fibroblast-like phenotype. The existence of different DLK1(+) populations was confirmed in cultures of primary derived myogenic cells, in which large flat nonmyogenic DLK1(+) cells and small spindle-shaped cells coexpressing DLK1 and muscle-specific markers were observed. Myogenic differentiation was achieved when sorted DLK1(+) cells were cocultured together with primary myoblasts revealing a myogenic potential that was 10% of the DLK1(-) population. Transplantation of DLK1(+) cells into lacerated muscle did, however, not give rise to DLK1(+) cell-derived myofibers. We suggest that the DLK1(+) subpopulations identified herein each may contribute at different levels/time points to the processes involved in muscle development and remodeling.

TidsskriftStem Cells
Udgave nummer4
Sider (fra-til)898-908
Antal sider11
StatusUdgivet - apr. 2009