ABOVE: Horizontal basal cells from mice grown in spheroid cultures with retinoic acid

Cultured olfactory stem cells can be transplanted in mice to repopulate cells in injured nasal tissue, according to a study published March 28 in Stem Cell Reports. Researchers figured out how to grow horizontal basal cells, a type of stem cell, from several organisms. Using both mouse and human cells in vitro, the scientists found they could rouse the cells from dormancy to differentiate into various cell types, including sensory neurons, with retinoic acid. When they introduced cultured stem cells to the injured nasal tissue of living mice, those treated with retinoic acid took hold and yielded several types of nasal epithelial cells.  

It’s not clear yet though if cultured stem cells can help restore a recipient’s sense of smell, but that’s the ultimate goal. “[W]e see...

J. Peterson et al., “Activating a reserve neural stem cell population in vitro enables engraftment and multipotency after transplantation,” Stem Cell Reports, doi:10.1016/j.stemcr.2019.02.014, 2019.

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