C. Florian Bentzinger, Ph. D.
The Bentzinger group is interested in understanding how skeletal muscle stem cells (MuSCs) are controlled by cellular and acellular elements in their microenvironment and how these regulatory mechanisms are perturbed in pathophysiological conditions and aging. Ultimately, the team is aiming to exploit these insights for the development of novel stem cell based treatments for the musculoskeletal system.
Bentzinger’s work has led to the establishment of novel protocols for stem cell therapy of diseased skeletal muscle that exploit microenvironmental growth factors for improving engraftment outcomes (Bentzinger et al., J Cell Biol., 2014). In addition, the Bentzinger group has recently reported the discovery of a novel aging mechanism of muscle tissue that involves a perturbation of the adhesion of MuSC to their extracellular matrix microenvironment (Lukjanenko et al., Nat Med., 2016).
Ongoing projects in the group are focusing on (I) the role of extracellular matrix in regulating MuSCs, (II) the nature and function of support cell types in the MuSC microenvironment, and (III) novel strategies to boost the function of MuSCs in chronically degenerative diseases of skeletal muscle.
- Lukjanenko L, Jung MJ, Hegde N, Perruisseau-Carrier C, Migliavacca E, Rozo M, Karaz S, Jacot G, Schmidt M, Li L, Metairon S, Raymond F, Lee U, Sizzano F, Wilson DH, Dumont NA, Palini A, Fässler R, Steiner P, Descombes P, Rudnicki MA, Fan CM, von Maltzahn J, Feige JN, Bentzinger CF. Loss of fibronectin from the aged stem cell niche affects the regenerative capacity of skeletal muscle in mice. Nat Med. 2016 Aug;22(8):897-905. doi: 10.1038/nm.4126.
- Bentzinger CF, von Maltzahn J, Dumont NA, Stark DA, Wang YX, Nhan K, Frenette J, Cornelison DD, Rudnicki MA. Wnt7a stimulates myogenic stem cell motility and engraftment resulting in improved muscle strength. J Cell Biol. 2014 Apr 14;205(1):97-111. doi: 10.1083/jcb.201310035.
- Generation of uncommitted human IPSC derived muscle stem cells for therapeutic applications (Fondation suisse de recherche sur les maladies musculaires)
Know-How & Opportunities for Collaboration
- Stem cell isolation, culture and transplantation
- In-vivo models of muscle regeneration, muscular dystrophy and aging
- Assessment of extracellular matrix-cell interaction