The research team led by Dr. Hans Clevers of the Hubrecht Institute, The Netherlands, have isolated and grown stem cells from the pancreases of mice using a 3-D culture system previously developed by the scientists.
The results, which are reported in The EMBO Journal, could eventually lead to ways to repair damaged insulin-producing beta cells or pancreatic duct cells.
Cell signalling molecules known as Wnts and a protein called Lgr5 are essential to produce adult stem cells that can be coaxed to grow and divide rapidly. However, these signaling pathways and molecules are inactive in the adult pancreas. “We have found a way to activate the Wnt pathway to produce an unlimited expansion of pancreatic stem cells isolated from mice,” Clevers said. “By changing the growth conditions we can select two different fates for the stem cells and generate large numbers of either hormone-producing beta cells or pancreatic duct cells.”
He added: “This work is still at a very early stage and further experiments are needed before we can use such an approach for the culture of human cells but the results are a promising proof-of-concept.”
In the study, the pancreases of mice were altered in a way that makes duct cells proliferate and differentiate. Some cells in this new population were stem cells that were capable of self-renewal. The scientists were able to culture these cells to give rise to large numbers of pancreatic cells or tiny clumps of tissue referred to as organoids.
Therapeutic strategies for pancreatic disease have been hampered by a lack of cell culture systems that allow scientists to grow replacement tissue in a test tube or on a dish. Alternative approaches such as tissue transplantation are limited by the scarcity of donors and the possibility of tissue rejection. The new work offers access to an unlimited supply of pancreatic stem cells that would be beneficial for the development of new therapeutic interventions for pancreatic diseases like diabetes.
The next steps for the scientists will include further refinement of the cell culture methods developed in this study and investigation of ways to extend the approach to human pancreatic cells.
Unlimited in vitro expansion of adult bi-potent pancreas progenitors through the Lgr5/Rspondin axis
Meritxell Huch, Paola Bonfanti, Sylvia F. Boj, Toshiro Sato, Cindy J. M. Loomans, Marc van de Wetering, Mozhdeh Sojoodi, Vivian S.W. Li, Jurian Schuijers, Ana Gracanin, Femke Rignalda, Harry Begthel, Johan H. van Es, Eelco de Koning, Robert G.J. Vries, Harry Heimberg and Hans Clevers
The paper is available after 4.00 pm Central European Time on Tuesday September 17 at the following URL:
Further information on The EMBO Journal is available at http://www.nature.com/embojMedia Contacts
EMBO helps young scientists to advance their research, promote their international reputations and ensure their mobility. Courses, workshops, conferences and scientific journals disseminate the latest research and offer training in techniques to maintain high standards of excellence in research practice. EMBO helps to shape science and research policy by seeking input and feedback from our community and by following closely the trends in science in Europe.
Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery
20.01.2017 | GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung GmbH
Seeking structure with metagenome sequences
20.01.2017 | DOE/Joint Genome Institute
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
20.01.2017 | Awards Funding
20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.01.2017 | Life Sciences