Researchers for the first time have been able to demonstrate fully functional complex tissues of human organs i.e. intestines, obtained using stem cell technology, which finds applications in laboratory research as well as medical purposes. The paper was published in the journal Nature.
“This is the first study to demonstrate that human pluripotent stem cells in a petri dish can be instructed to efficiently form human tissue with three-dimensional architecture and cellular composition remarkably similar to intestinal tissue,” said Dr. James Wells, a leading researcher at the Medical Center’s Children’s Hospital of Cincinnati. “The hope is that our ability to turn stem cells into intestinal tissue will eventually be therapeutically beneficial for people with diseases such as necrotizing enterocolitis, inflammatory bowel disease and short bowel syndromes,” – he added
Stem cells have been of great interest to scientists and doctors, as they have the ability to transform into any cell type in the body, which are of more than 200 types. Unfortunately, the adult body is almost devoid of these cells, and a significant number are formed only at the stage of embryonic development. For this reason, in recent years a number of methods have been developed for producing cells with the properties of stem cells from tissues of the adult human body. These cells, called induced pluripotent, are obtained by reprogramming of skin cells.
In its study the team of Dr. Welles used embryonic stem cells and induced pluripotent cells, so that in the future they could compare the possibility of transplantation of tissues derived from them.
In order to take the development of these cells in the right direction with the formation of intestinal tissues, the scientists with the help of chemical reagents and additional biological molecules simulated the growth of tissues at the embryonic stage of human development in the test tube.
Within 28 days, these incremental steps allowed scientists to obtain tissues with 3-D structure, reflecting the structure of intestinal tissues of baby in the womb. These tissues contain all the cell types, characteristic of the normal functioning of intestines.
According to the authors, this knowledge can now be used by all scientists of the world involved in the study of disorders of intestinal tissue growth, diseases of the organ and their search for treatment.
- Stem cells used to make pancreas, gut cells (reuters.com)
- Human intestinal tissue grown in the lab (nature.com)