Scientists have now shown that skin cells can be coaxed to behave like muscle cells and muscle cells like skin cells.
The fickleness of the cells, and the relative ease with which they make the switch, provide a glimpse into the genetic reprogramming that must occur for a cell to become something it’s not.
“We’d all like to understand what happens inside the black box (cell),” said Helen Blau, professor and member of Stanford University‘s Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine Institute and co-author of a new study on the subject.
Harnessing these genetic makeovers will allow scientists to better
The master regulator of muscle differentiation, MyoD, functions early in myogenesis to help stem cells proliferate in response to muscle injury, according to researchers at Case Western Reserve University.
The study appears online Jan. 4 in the Journal of Cell Biology.
Some stem cells can lay dormant for more than two weeks in a dead person and then be revived to divide into new, functioning cells, scientists in France said.
The research, published in the journal Nature Communications, unlocks further knowledge about the versatility of these cells, touted as a future source to replenish damaged tissue.
“Remarkably, skeletal muscle stem cells can survive for 17 days in humans and 16 days in mice, post mortem well beyond the 1-2 days currently thought,” they said in a statement.
The stem cells retained their ability to differentiate into perfectly functioning muscle cells, they found.
Bioengineered organs may redefine transplants for humans someday, and even allow damaged organs to regenerate.
Northwestern University researchers are in the beginning stages of bioengineering tissues and entire organs from stem cells of adult rats and mice, said Dr. Jenny Zhang. Zhang directs the Microsurgical Core within the Comprehensive Transplant Center at Feinberg.
Once engineered, Zhang said her team will be able to test the functionality of such organs as transplants in the rodents. For now, Zhang and fellow researchers are using a biodegradable scaffold, a kind-of-skeleton of an organ with all living cells removed, to test the model.
By developing a
Scientists in the US have made a major breakthrough that has the potential for people with brain damage, caused by epilepsy or Parkinson’s for example, to use their own brain stem cells as a treatment.
Steven Roper of the University of Florida discovered that stem cells from the human brain that were transplanted into the brains of newborn rats matured and were able to function just like native rat cells.
The researchers found that the adult stem cells had the ability to turn into all types of brain tissue in the rats, including the neocortex, which deals with higher processing, and