Sending stem cells back in time

Scientists at the University of Central Florida have devised a creative way to obtain stem cells with embryonic properties -- by coaxing mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) to return to their roots, and display embryonic qualities. To achieve this, linkurl:Angel Alvarez;http://sugaya.ucf.edu/members.html and his co-author Kiminobu Sugaya "dedifferentiated" MSCs by over expression of the ESC gene nanog, using gene transfection. The resulting cells developed a reduced size and formed cellular

By | March 29, 2006

Scientists at the University of Central Florida have devised a creative way to obtain stem cells with embryonic properties -- by coaxing mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) to return to their roots, and display embryonic qualities. To achieve this, linkurl:Angel Alvarez;http://sugaya.ucf.edu/members.html and his co-author Kiminobu Sugaya "dedifferentiated" MSCs by over expression of the ESC gene nanog, using gene transfection. The resulting cells developed a reduced size and formed cellular clusters, a similar pattern to that seen in embryoid bodies and ESCs. These transfected cells also expressed ESC markers such as oct4 and TRA-160 for up to 11 months in culture, and proliferated at a higher rate. Importantly, the cells also had the potential to differentiate into neurons and astrocytes. Alvarez told me during his poster presentation last night during this year?s linkurl:Keystone meeting;http://www.keystonesymposia.org/Meetings/ViewMeetings.cfm?MeetingID=786 on stem cells that the process is, in some respects, taking MSCs back in time. He added that he and his colleague came up with the idea for the experiment after reading published studies on the role of nanog, and thought "let?s try it." The authors plan to continue producing other cell types, and look at in vivo applications.
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