The team found a new type of fibro/adipogenic progenitors, or FAPs, that generate fatty fibrous tissues when transplanted into damaged muscles in mice. Progenitors are similar to stem cells in their capacity to differentiate, but are limited in the number of times they can divide.
The findings are published in the current issue of Nature Cell Biology.
"These cells are typically dormant in muscle tissues," says lead author Fabio Rossi, Canada Research Chair in Regenerative Medicine. "Once activated by damage, they produce signals that coordinate tissue regeneration and then disappear. That's the Dr. Jekyll side of FAPs.
"In chronic muscle diseases such as muscular dystrophy, however, FAPs persist and may be contributing to over-production of scar tissues, resulting in fibrosis. That's the Mr. Hyde side," says Rossi, associate professor in the Department of Medical Genetics and the Biomedical Research Centre.
Better understanding of the role of FAPs could help encourage their healthy function or repress their negative impact, the researchers say. In the long term, drugs targeting these cells may be useful in a range of diseases characterized by fibrosis ranging from cardiovascular to lung and kidney disease, to organ transplantation. In addition, the cells' ability to generate new fat tissue could be exploited to target metabolic disease.
The study was supported by funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research and The Foundation for Cell Therapy. The Biomedical Research Centre is affiliated with the Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute.
The UBC Faculty of Medicine provides innovative programs in the health and life sciences, teaching students at the undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate levels, and generates more than $200 million in research funding each year. In 2007/08, out of the total UBC research endeavour, 53 per cent, or $247 million, came from academic and clinical teams in the Faculty of Medicine. For more information, visit www.med.ubc.ca.
The Biomedical Research Centre is an interdisciplinary research centre with the goal to generate new knowledge about how the immune system and adult stem cells accomplish their vital tasks, and how disturbances in these processes result in disease. The aim is to translate this new knowledge into innovative treatments for chronic diseases like arthritis, Alzheimer's disease, asthma, diabetes, and cancer. www.brc.ubc.ca.
VCH Research Institute is the research body of Vancouver Coastal Health Authority. In academic partnership with UBC, the institute advances health research and innovation across B.C., Canada, and beyond. www.vchri.ca.
Brian Lin | EurekAlert!
22.02.2018 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau
Separate brain systems cooperate during learning, study finds
22.02.2018 | Brown University
Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...
For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.
In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...
Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale
Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...
For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.
But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...
Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.
The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...
15.02.2018 | Event News
13.02.2018 | Event News
12.02.2018 | Event News
22.02.2018 | Life Sciences
22.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
22.02.2018 | Earth Sciences