Skeletal muscle-derived CD34+/45- (Sk-34) cells were identified as a new candidate for stem cells. However, the relationship between Sk-34 cells and side-population (SP) cells is unknown. Here, we demonstrate that Sk-34 cells prepared from murine skeletal muscles consist wholly of main-population (MP) cells. The Sk-34 cells included only a few SP cells (1:1000, SP:MP). Colony-forming units of Sk-34 cells of both SP and MP possessed the same potential to differentiate into adipocytes, endothelial, and myogenic cells and showed the same colony-forming activity (1.6%). In addition, the colony-forming units of the CD34-/45- (double negative: DN) population were found to begin CD34 expression and to possess the potential to differentiate into myogenic and endothelial cells. We also found that expression of CD34 antigen precedes MyoD expression during the myogenic process of DN cells. Furthermore, both Sk-34 and DN cell populations were mostly negative for CD73 (93-95%), whereas the CD45+ cell population was >25% positive for CD73, and this trend was also seen in bone marrow-derived CD45+ cells. These results indicate that the MP cell population is about 99.9% responsible for the reported in vitro myogenic-endothelial responses of skeletal muscle-derived cells.
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