"There are chemically resistant, local-tissue stem cells in the lung that only activate after severe injury," said Barry R. Stripp, Ph.D., professor of medicine and cell biology at Duke University Medical Center.
"Cigarette smoke contains a host of toxic chemicals, and smoking is one factor that we anticipate would stimulate these stem cells. Our findings demonstrate that, with severe injury, the resulting repair response leads to large numbers of proliferating cells that are derived from these rare stem cells."
Stripp said this finding could be related to the increased incidence of lung cancer in people with chronic disease states, in particular among cigarette smokers.
The findings were published in the advance online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences during the week of May 25."On the positive side, I think that it might be possible to improve lung function in the context of disease if we could understand which pathways regulate lung stem cell activation and then target these pharmacologically," said lead author Adam Giangreco, Ph.D., from Cancer Research UK's Cambridge Research Institute. "In terms of lung cancer susceptibility, however, our observation that stem cell activation leads to clonal expansion after injury could, in the context of additional mutations, promote the development of cancerous or precancerous lesions from activated stem cells."
The researchers at Duke and Cancer Research UK used a unique whole-lung imaging method to examine and identify the location of stem cells in the lung tissue of mice, and determine the role they play in both healthy and damaged mouse lungs.
They found that, while the stem cells don't appear to be involved in the normal maintenance of healthy or moderately injured lungs, they do play a vital role in repairing severely damaged lungs.
Even though this repair mechanism is important for restoring lung function, it can come at a price. An acquired mutation in that rare cell or its descendants leads to clonal patches of many identical cells. Secondary mutations in any one of these cells may provide the signals needed for unregulated cell growth and tumor progression.
"This work provides a plausible mechanism to account for this type of event that we previously didn't have," Stripp said.
The study was supported by grant funding from the National Institutes of Health, Cancer Research UK, the University of Cambridge and Hutchison Whampoa.
Other authors include Joshua Snyder from the Duke Department of Medicine; Esther Arwet and Fiona Watt of Cancer Research UK's Cambridge Research Institute; and Ian Rosewell with Cancer Research UK at the London Research Institute in South Mimms. Dr. Watt is also with the Wellcome Trust Centre for Stem Cell Research at Cambridge University.
Mary Jane Gore | EurekAlert!
How brains surrender to sleep
23.06.2017 | IMP - Forschungsinstitut für Molekulare Pathologie GmbH
A new technique isolates neuronal activity during memory consolidation
22.06.2017 | Spanish National Research Council (CSIC)
An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.
Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...
Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.
Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...
Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.
As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...
Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.
With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...
Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine
Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...
19.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
23.06.2017 | Life Sciences
23.06.2017 | Information Technology