Stem cells to the rescue - or not?

December 01, 2004

The use of stem cells obtained from bone marrow for the treatment of some skeletal or heart diseases is an attractive long-term strategy to deliver normal stem cells, capable of developing into any cell type of the body, to injured tissue in order to effect repair. A subset of bone marrow cells, called bone marrow-derived side population (BM-SP) cells, make up only 0.01-0.05% of whole bone marrow. In mice, these cells have previously been reported to restore expression of the protein that is lacking in muscular dystrophy. Many studies have shown that stem cells are able to home to injured skeletal and cardiac muscle, however in the past, marker proteins that show the location of donor stem cells within damaged tissue of the recipient have not been able to definitively distinguish between donor and recipient cells, which raises the possibility that the recipients own cells have in fact been responsible for observed regeneration.

In the December 1 issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, Elizabeth McNally and colleagues from the University of Chicago transplanted BM-SP cells from normal male mice into female mice lacking delta-sarcoglycan - an animal model of cardiomyopathy and muscular dystrophy - to determine whether these stem cells would be recruited to skeletal and cardiac muscle to restore delta -sarcoglycan expression. Surprisingly, upon examination of many thousands of muscle cells, the authors found that while donor cells readily engrafted into the delta -sarcoglycan-deficient cardiac and skeletal muscle (evidenced by the Y chromosome from male donor cells present within the recipient female muscle), these donor cells were only able to restore sarcoglycan expression in 2 muscle fibers. This finding demonstrates that BM-SP stem cells can produce delta -sarcoglycan but do so at a negligible degree, suggesting that they have a limited potential for cardiac and skeletal muscle regeneration.

In an accompanying commentary, Giulio Cossu, from the Stem Cell Research Institute in Milan discusses how this study "raises additional concerns relating to stem cell plasticity and stem cell therapy in an already heated and controversial field." This study stands in contrast to others that have claimed successful differentiation of BM-SP stem cells in specific tissues. Dr. Cossu offers some reasons for the experimental discrepancies and stresses that "it would be important to repeat the same experiments described here....with other types of stem cells...[as] they may represent a better perspective for the stem cell therapy of striated muscle diseases than BM-SP stem cells." In light of these data, McNally and colleagues suggest that "active pursuit of...alternative approaches should be fully investigated as we advance into regenerative medicine."
-end-
TITLE: Transplanted hematopoietic stem cells demonstrate impaired sarcoglycan expression after engraftment into cardiac and skeletal muscle

AUTHOR CONTACT:
Elizabeth McNally
Department of Medicine
University of Chicago
Chicago, Illinois, USA
Phone: 773-702-2672
Fax: 773-702-2681
E-mail: emcnally@medicine.bsd.uchicago.edu.
View the PDF of this article at: http://www.jci.org/cgi/content/full/114/11/1577

ACCOMPANYING COMMENTARY:

TITLE: Fusion of bone marrow-derived stem cells with striated muscle may not be sufficient to activate muscle genes

AUTHOR CONTACT:
Giulio Cossu
Stem Cell Research Institute
DIBIT, Milan, Italy
Phone: 3902-2156-0250
Fax: 3902-2156-0220
E-mail: cossu.giulio@hsr.it.

JCI Journals

Related Stem Cells Articles from Brightsurf:

SUTD researchers create heart cells from stem cells using 3D printing
SUTD researchers 3D printed a micro-scaled physical device to demonstrate a new level of control in the directed differentiation of stem cells, enhancing the production of cardiomyocytes.

More selective elimination of leukemia stem cells and blood stem cells
Hematopoietic stem cells from a healthy donor can help patients suffering from acute leukemia.

Computer simulations visualize how DNA is recognized to convert cells into stem cells
Researchers of the Hubrecht Institute (KNAW - The Netherlands) and the Max Planck Institute in Münster (Germany) have revealed how an essential protein helps to activate genomic DNA during the conversion of regular adult human cells into stem cells.

First events in stem cells becoming specialized cells needed for organ development
Cell biologists at the University of Toronto shed light on the very first step stem cells go through to turn into the specialized cells that make up organs.

Surprising research result: All immature cells can develop into stem cells
New sensational study conducted at the University of Copenhagen disproves traditional knowledge of stem cell development.

The development of brain stem cells into new nerve cells and why this can lead to cancer
Stem cells are true Jacks-of-all-trades of our bodies, as they can turn into the many different cell types of all organs.

Healthy blood stem cells have as many DNA mutations as leukemic cells
Researchers from the Princess Máxima Center for Pediatric Oncology have shown that the number of mutations in healthy and leukemic blood stem cells does not differ.

New method grows brain cells from stem cells quickly and efficiently
Researchers at Lund University in Sweden have developed a faster method to generate functional brain cells, called astrocytes, from embryonic stem cells.

NUS researchers confine mature cells to turn them into stem cells
Recent research led by Professor G.V. Shivashankar of the Mechanobiology Institute at the National University of Singapore and the FIRC Institute of Molecular Oncology in Italy, has revealed that mature cells can be reprogrammed into re-deployable stem cells without direct genetic modification -- by confining them to a defined geometric space for an extended period of time.

Researchers develop a new method for turning skin cells into pluripotent stem cells
Researchers at the University of Helsinki, Finland, and Karolinska Institutet, Sweden, have for the first time succeeded in converting human skin cells into pluripotent stem cells by activating the cell's own genes.

Read More: Stem Cells News and Stem Cells Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.