Muse cells are non-tumorigenic endogenous reparative pluripotent cells with high therapeutic potential. They are identified as cells positive for the pluripotent surface marker SSEA-3 in the bone marrow, peripheral blood, and connective tissue. Muse cells also express other pluripotent stem cell markers, are able to differentiate into cells representative of all three germ layers, self-renew from a single cell, and are stress tolerant. They express receptors for sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P), which is actively produced by damaged cells, allowing circulating cells to selectively home to damaged tissue. Muse cells spontaneously differentiate on-site into multiple tissue-constituent cells with few errors and replace damaged/apoptotic cells with functional cells, thereby contributing to tissue repair. Intravenous injection of exogenous Muse cells to increase the number of circulating Muse cells enhances their reparative activity. Muse cells also have a specific immunomodulatory system, represented by HLA-G expression, allowing them to be directly administered without HLA-matching or immunosuppressant treatment. Owing to these unique characteristics, clinical trials using intravenously administered donor-Muse cells have been conducted for myocardial infarction, stroke, epidermolysis bullosa, spinal cord injury, perinatal hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Muse cells have the potential to break through the limitations of current cell therapies for neurologic diseases, including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Muse cells provide a new therapeutic strategy that requires no HLA-matching or immunosuppressant treatment for administering donor-derived cells, no gene introduction or differentiation induction for cell preparation, and no surgery for delivering the cells to patients.
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