Skeletal muscle is a highly specialized, postmitotic tissue that must withstand chronic mechanical and physiological stress throughout life to maintain proper contractile function. Muscle damage or disease leads to progressive weakness and disability, and manifests in more than 100 different human disorders. Current therapies to treat muscle degenerative diseases are limited mostly to the amelioration of symptoms, although promising new therapeutic directions are emerging. In this review, we discuss the pathological basis for the most common muscle degenerative diseases and highlight new and encouraging experimental and clinical opportunities to prevent or reverse these afflictions.

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Amy Wagers seeks to change the way we repair our tissues after an injury. Her research focuses on defining the factors and mechanisms that regulate the migration, expansion, and regenerative potential of adult blood-forming and muscle-forming stem cells.

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