The National Institutes of Health has awarded a $2.3 million grant to Purdue University to develop a basic understanding of a previously unknown subset of muscle stem cells. Shihuan Kuang, a Purdue professor of animal sciences, identified the cells, which he calls “immunomyoblasts.”
Shihuan Kuang, a Purdue professor of animal sciences, identified the cells, which he calls “immunomyoblasts.” According to Kuang, the cells have both muscle stem cell and immune cell properties and may shed light on how those cells interact.
The funding comes from the NIH’s National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. Purdue says Kuang will work to understand the cells’ origins and functions.
“These stem cells have unique properties that raise questions about where they come from and how they relate to muscle and immune cells,” Kuang said. “This grant will provide the support for us to answer those fundamental questions and lay a foundation for applied research into ways immunomyoblasts could be targeted to treat diseases and improve animal agriculture.”
Purdue says Kuang’s lab identified the new subcategory of stem cells through a technique called single-cell RNA sequencing. The knowledge gained from Kuang’s work may open new avenues of research in muscular diseases.
The university says Kuang’s research may also help determine how muscles develop in pigs, cattle and other animals raised for meat and make improvements in those processes.