Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

A new short cut for stem cell programming

22.03.2012
Researchers at the University of Bonn artificially derive brain stem cells directly from the connective tissue of mice.

Scientists at the Life & Brain Research Center at the University of Bonn, Germany, have succeeded in directly generating brain stem cells from the connective tissue cells of mice. These stem cells can reproduce and be converted into various types of brain cells.

To date, only reprogramming in brain cells that were already fully developed or which had only a limited ability to divide was possible. The new reprogramming method presented by the Bonn scientists and submitted for publication in July 2011 now enables derivation of brain stem cells that are still immature and able to undergo practically unlimited division to be extracted from conventional body cells. The results have now been published in the current edition of the prestigious journal “Cell Stem Cell.”

The Japanese stem cell researcher Professor Shinya Yamanaka and his team produced stem cells from the connective tissue cells of mice for the first time in 2006; these cells can differentiate into all types of body cells. These induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells) develop via reprogramming into a type of embryonic stage. This result made the scientific community sit up and take notice. If as many stem cells as desired can be produced from conventional body cells, this holds great potential for medical developments and drug research.

“Now a team of scientists from the University of Bonn has proven a variant for this method in a mouse model,” report Dr. Frank Edenhofer and his team at the Institute of Reconstructive Neurobiology (Director: Dr. Oliver Brüstle) of the University of Bonn. Also involved were the epileptologists and the Institute of Human Genetics of the University of Bonn, led by Dr. Markus Nöthen, who is also a member of the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases.

Edenhofer and his co-workers Marc Thier, Philipp Wörsdörfer and Yenal B. Lakes used connective tissue cells from mice as a starting material. Just as Yamanaka did, they initiated the conversion with a combination of four genes. “We however deliberately targeted the production of neural stem cells or brain stem cells, not pluripotent iPS multipurpose cells,” says Edenhofer. These cells are known as somatic or adult stem cells, which can develop into the cells typical of the nervous system, neurons, oligodendrocytes and astrocytes.

The gene “Oct4” is the central control factor

The gene “Oct4” is a crucial control factor. “First, it prepares the connective tissue cell for reprogramming, later, however, Oct4 appears to prevent destabilized cells from becoming brain stem cells” reports the Bonn stem cell researcher. While this factor is switched on during reprogramming of iPS cells over a longer period of time, the Bonn researchers activate the factor with special techniques for only a few days. “If this molecular switch is toggled over a limited period of time, the brain stem cells, which we refer to as induced neural stem cells (iNS cells), can be reached directly,“ said Edenhofer. “Oct4 activates the process, destabilizes the cells and clears them for the direct reprogramming. However, we still need to analyze the exact mechanism of the cellular conversion.“

The scientists at the University of Bonn have thus found a new way to reprogram cells, which is considerably faster and also safer in comparison to the iPS cells and embryonic stem cells. “Since we cut down on the reprogramming of the cells via the embryonic stage, our method is about two to three times faster than the method used to produce iPS cells,“ stresses Edenhofer. Thus the work involved and the costs are also much lower. In addition, the novel Bonn method is associated with a dramatically lower risk of tumors. As compared to other approaches, the Bonn scientists’ method stands out due to the production of neural cells that can be multiplied to a nearly unlimited degree.

Low risk of tumor and unlimited self renewal

A low risk of tumor formation is important because in the distant future, neural cells will replace defective cells of the nervous system. A vision of the various international scientific teams is to eventually create adult stem cells for example from skin or hair root cells, differentiate these further for therapeutic purposes, and then implant them in damaged areas. “But that is still a long way off,“ says Edenhofer. However, the scientists have a rather urgent need today for a simple way to obtain brain stem cells from the patient to use them to study various neurodegenerative diseases and test drugs in a Petri dish. “Our work could form the basis for providing practically unlimited quantities of the patient’s own cells.“ The current study was initially conducted on mice. “We are now extremely eager to see whether these results can also be applied to humans,“ says the Bonn scientist.

Publication: Direct conversion of fibroblasts into stably expandable neural stem cells, Cell Stem Cell, DOI: 10.1016/j.stem.2012.03.003

In the printed edition at April 6th 2012.

Contact information:

Dr. Frank Edenhofer
Institute of Reconstructive Neurobiology
Tel. 0228/6885-529
E-Mail: f.edenhofer@uni-bonn.de

Johannes Seiler | idw
Further information:
http://www3.uni-bonn.de/Pressemitteilungen/073-2012

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht The balancing act: An enzyme that links endocytosis to membrane recycling
07.12.2016 | National Centre for Biological Sciences

nachricht Transforming plant cells from generalists to specialists
07.12.2016 | Duke University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

NTU scientists build new ultrasound device using 3-D printing technology

07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

The balancing act: An enzyme that links endocytosis to membrane recycling

07.12.2016 | Life Sciences

How to turn white fat brown

07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>