Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Muscle is plastic fantastic

12.12.2001


Some muscle cells are multi-talented.
© SPL


American Society for Cell Biology Meeting, Washington, December 2001

Stem cells’ fates are a multiple choice.


A single stem cell from adult mouse muscle can form enough blood cells to save another animal’s life - and still switch back to making brawn, researchers announced at the Washington meeting of the American Society for Cell Biology this week.



Stem cells found in mashed up muscle can migrate into the bone marrow and make blood cells1. Muscle contains many different types of cell, however, and the exact identity of the one responsible remains unclear.

Johnny Huard, of the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania, and his colleagues selected a group of adult mouse muscle cells that kept dividing for days and were marked by a distinct array of proteins.

When injected into mice whose bone marrow had been killed by radiation, the stem cells replaced it. Mice that would otherwise have died after 2 weeks survived for 6 months. And, when new blood stem cells were recovered and injected into a third mouse, they reverted to producing more muscle. This backtracking to their original job is the "most amazing thing", says Huard.

"It shows that cells can go in many different directions given the right environment," says stem-cell researcher Helen Blau of Stanford University in California. The traditional view - that stem cells progressively and permanently lose their initial ability to produce many cell types - is changing, she argues.

Rather than a one-way road of cell destiny, "It looks like a San Francisco highway", says Blau. Stem cells can go off at one exit to make nerve cells and rejoin to make liver cells when the need arises.

Embryonic stem (ES) cells may still have properties that adult stem cells lack, cautions Ron McKay of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. Adult nerve stem cells are more likely to stop producing new nerve cells than are ES cells, he says, arguing for continued experimentation with the controversial human cells.

"I’ll say it because we’re in Washington: they [ES cells] grow without changing their developmental potential," he says.

Muscling in

"We weren’t looking for stem cells," explains Huard. He and his team were trying to find muscle cells that could restore the missing protein dystrophin in patients suffering from the wasting muscle disease Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). They wanted cells that were tough enough to survive transplantation into a patient.

They injected their selected cell group, labelled so that they could be tracked, into mice with a form of DMD. But the cells rarely turned up in muscle. Instead, Huard found them in heart, liver, lung, spleen - but mainly bone marrow. "I got sidetracked," he says.

Huard is now trying to coax his stem cells back to muscle by searching for the molecules that lure them there. Working muscle cells would bump up dystrophin levels. "It will be very exciting," he predicts.

To finally identify the elusive muscle stem cell, researchers must start from a single cell, warns Blau: even Huard’s group of purified cells could contain outliers with unknown effects. Such a technique identified an ’ultimate’ stem cell from bone marrow earlier this year2.

References

  1. Jackson, K.A. et al. Hematopoietic potential of stem cells isolated from murine skeletal muscle. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, 96, 14482 - 14486, (1999).
  2. Krause, D.S. et al. Multi-organ, multi-lineage engraftment by a single bone marrow-derived stem cell. Cell, 105, 369 - 377, (2001).


| © Nature News Service
Further information:
http://www.nature.com/nsu/011213/011213-9.html

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 >>>