Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Neural stem cells derived from human embryonic stem cells carry abnormal gene expression

Study may shed new light on better ways to grow potent stem cell lines

Neural stem cells grown from one of the federally approved human embryonic stem cell lines proved to be inferior to neural stem cells derived from fetal tissue donated for research, a UCLA study has found.

Researchers from the Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Medicine at UCLA coaxed cells from the federally approved line to differentiate into neural stem cells, a process that might one day be used to grow replacement cells to treat such debilitating diseases as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. However, the neural stem cells expressed a lower level of a metabolic gene called CPT 1A, a condition that causes hypoglycemia in humans.

The study may shed new light on better ways to grow neural and other stem cells in the lab so they mirror normal cells and promote normal functioning, said Guoping Fan, an assistant professor of human genetics and a researcher in UCLA's stem cell institute. The study appears this week in an early online edition of the journal Human Molecular Genetics.

"This study is a very important first step in looking at the differentiation process in neural stem cells," said Fan, senior author of the study. "Now we have a direct measurement of the types of cells that eventually, we hope, will be used for transplantation. We can tell, are they normal or not. Understanding why these cells under-expressed CPT 1A is the first step in a comprehensive understanding of cells obtained from human embryonic stem cells."

The study, Fan said, deals with one of the most important aspects in stem cell biology - potential abnormalities in cells derived from human embryonic stem cells. Stem cells with abnormalities may not effectively treat the diseases they were created to treat, or they may result in secondary problems such as hypoglycemia, Fan said.

UCLA researchers also compared the neural stem cells they grew to cancer cells to ensure that the neural stem cells did not have any abnormalities in a DNA modification associated with gene silencing. The abnormal DNA modification is characteristically a hallmark of cancer cells. The good news, Fan said, is that the neural stem cells in their study did not share any abnormal characteristics associated with cancer. The means, theoretically, that a patient undergoing transplantation with these neural stem cells would not later develop a malignancy.

In the three-year study, researchers compared the neural stem cells grown in the lab from human embryonic stem cells to neural stem cells that already had differentiated and were derived from donated fetal tissue. The question: would the cell lines be the same and mirror the normal neural stem cells found in humans or would one cell line be superior to the other?

"Compared to the normal cells derived from the fetal tissue, the level of gene expression in the neural stem cells grown in the lab is lower," Fan said. "Proper levels of gene expression are essential for normal cell function. This study suggests that the differentiation procedure used in the lab needs to be improved so all genes are properly regulated in the stem cells we grow."

Fan and his colleagues now are studying what may have gone awry in the process they used to coax the human embryonic stem cells to differentiate into neural stem cells that may have resulted in the under-expression of the CPT 1A gene. They're also planning to repeat their work on other federally approved stem cell lines to see if the abnormality was an aberration found only in this one stem cell line. Fan and other UCLA researchers said the abnormality found in the federally approved stem cell line reinforces the need for other embryonic stem cells lines on which to conduct research.

To compare the neural stem cells, researchers extracted DNA fragments and used high throughput micro array technology to study the pattern of DNA cytosine methylation. They also monitored for levels of gene expression that are necessary for cell function as well as abnormalities that might be problematic.

"Any stem cells that might one day be used for transplantation have to be as close as possible to normal stem cells," Fan said. "The next step is to see if we can improve the way we grown these cells. I think we learned an important lesson with this study."

Kim Irwin | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Novel mechanisms of action discovered for the skin cancer medication Imiquimod
21.10.2016 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Second research flight into zero gravity
21.10.2016 | Universität Zürich

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>