In their ongoing research on turning adult stem cells isolated from fat into cartilage, Duke University Medical Center researchers have demonstrated that the level of oxygen present during the transformation process is a key switch in stimulating the stem cells to change.
Their findings were presented today (Feb. 2, 2003) at the annual meeting of the Orthopedic Research Society.
Using a biochemical cocktail of steroids and growth factors, the researchers have "retrained" specific adult stem cells that would normally form the structure of fat into another type of cell known as a chondrocyte, or cartilage cell. During this process, if the cells were grown in the presence of "room air," which is about 20 percent oxygen, the stem cells tended to proliferate; however, if the level of oxygen was reduced to 5 percent, the stem cells transformed into chondrocytes.
Richard Merritt | EurekAlert!
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