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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 964010, 12 pages
Review Article

Stem Cell Transplantation for Muscular Dystrophy: The Challenge of Immune Response

1Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, University College London, London WC1E 6DE, UK
2Experimental Hematology Unit, Division of Immunology, Transplantation and Infectious Diseases, San Raffaele Scientific Institute, 20132 Milan, Italy
3Institute of Immunology, Department of Biology, National University of Ireland Maynooth, County Kildare, Ireland

Received 14 February 2014; Accepted 5 June 2014; Published 26 June 2014

Academic Editor: Fabio Rossi

Copyright © 2014 Sara Martina Maffioletti et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Treating muscle disorders poses several challenges to the rapidly evolving field of regenerative medicine. Considerable progress has been made in isolating, characterizing, and expanding myogenic stem cells and, although we are now envisaging strategies to generate very large numbers of transplantable cells (e.g., by differentiating induced pluripotent stem cells), limitations directly linked to the interaction between transplanted cells and the host will continue to hamper a successful outcome. Among these limitations, host inflammatory and immune responses challenge the critical phases after cell delivery, including engraftment, migration, and differentiation. Therefore, it is key to study the mechanisms and dynamics that impair the efficacy of cell transplants in order to develop strategies that can ultimately improve the outcome of allogeneic and autologous stem cell therapies, in particular for severe disease such as muscular dystrophies. In this review we provide an overview of the main players and issues involved in this process and discuss potential approaches that might be beneficial for future regenerative therapies of skeletal muscle.