Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Scientists find fully differentiated blood cells remain able to switch identity

16.12.2002


Scientists at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine have found a new wrinkle in the developmental biology dogma that cell differentiation occurs irreversibly as stem cells give rise to increasingly specialized types of offspring cells. The researchers have shown that certain mouse cells retain an ability to oscillate between very distinct blood cell types -- B-cells and macrophages -- long after what has been commonly regarded as the point of no return.



These latest findings on the phenomenon sometimes referred to as "lineage promiscuity" appear on the Web site of the journal Blood and will be published in the journal’s print edition in March 2003.

"This work reveals that seemingly committed cells have more plasticity than we had thought," said senior author Andrei Thomas-Tikhonenko, assistant professor of pathobiology at Penn. "It appears there is at least a small window where terminally differentiated cells vacillate on which identity to adopt. We suspect that this phenomenon is not limited to B-cells and macrophages in mice."


Pushing mature cells into other lineages may offer a new way to replace cells involved in blood diseases and neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease. Scientists also say this approach offers the potential for converting lymphoma cells that are resistant to treatment into more manageable forms of cancer.

"We found that just two genes, EBF and Pax5, are turned off when B-cells are concerted into macrophages; Pax5 is a known oncogene implicated in the growth of B-cell lymphomas," Thomas-Tikhonenko said. "It’s possible that by targeting this gene with drugs, we may be able to convert malignant B-cell lymphomas into much less harmful histiocytomas, tumors composed of relatively inactive macrophages."

Previous research has demonstrated that when B-cells are transplanted from an animal into a petri dish, the cells sometimes change into macrophages. Thomas-Tikhonenko and colleagues found that when the cells are returned to the animal, they generate spherical B-cell lymphomas, indicating that they have changed their identity yet again. Moreover, the cells could continue oscillating between B-cells and macrophages indefinitely, as many times as they were relocated.

"In other words, ’unfaithful’ cells that have strayed from their original identity can ’come to their senses’ and return to the original lineage," Thomas-Tikhonenko said.

Like all blood cells, B-cells and macrophages descend from hematopoeitic stem cells; however, as members of different families, the two cells do not share a common parent. B-cells arise from a lymphoid progenitor, while macrophages come from a myeloid progenitor.

"Until recently, it was believed that the various cell types of the blood are generated from stem cells in a controlled but irreversible fashion," said James Hagman, an immunology researcher at the National Jewish Medical and Research Center in Denver who was not involved in this research. "Now, Dr. Thomas-Tikhonenko and colleagues provide a new example of developmental flexibility. Together with other published results, these observations blur the concept of fixed cell types and provide new insights concerning potential uses for adult stem cells."


Thomas-Tikhonenko was joined in the research by Duonan Yu and Michael H. Goldschmidt of Penn’s Department of Pathobiology, David Allman and John G. Monroe of Penn’s Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and Michael L. Atchison of Penn’s Department of Animal Biology. The work was funded by the National Cancer Institute.

Steve Bradt | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.upenn.edu/

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Molecular Force Sensors
20.09.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biochemie

nachricht Foster tadpoles trigger parental instinct in poison frogs
20.09.2017 | Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

Im Focus: Fast, convenient & standardized: New lab innovation for automated tissue engineering & drug

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems Holding GmbH about commercial use of a multi-well tissue plate for automated and reliable tissue engineering & drug testing.

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems...

Im Focus: Silencing bacteria

HZI researchers pave the way for new agents that render hospital pathogens mute

Pathogenic bacteria are becoming resistant to common antibiotics to an ever increasing degree. One of the most difficult germs is Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Molecular Force Sensors

20.09.2017 | Life Sciences

Producing electricity during flight

20.09.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

20.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>