Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers characterize stem cell function

12.03.2010
The promise of stem cells lies in their unique ability to differentiate into a multitude of different types of cells. But in order to determine how to use stem cells for new therapeutics, scientists and engineers need to answer a fundamental question: if a stem cell changes to look like a certain type of cell, how do we know if it will behave like a certain type of cell?

Researchers at Northwestern University's McCormick School of Engineering are the first to fully characterize a special type of stem cell, endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) that exist in circulating blood, to see if they can behave as endothelial cells in the body when cultured on a bioengineered surface.

The results, published online in the journal Stem Cells show promise for a new generation of tissue-engineered vascular grafts which could improve the success rate of surgery for peripheral arterial disease. Peripheral arterial disease is estimated to affect one in every 20 Americans over the age of 50, a total of 8 to 12 million people.

"Normally, stem cells are not studied in the context of improving vascular grafts for bypass surgery. Therefore, we had to develop new tests to assess their use in this application," says Guillermo Ameer, senior author of the paper and associate professor of biomedical engineering and surgery. "We looked at the function of the cells on a citric acid-based polymer, which will be the basis for a new generation of bioengineered vascular grafts."

In the study, Josephine Allen, then a graduate student in Ameer's lab, and colleagues isolated endothelial progenitor cells from eight tablespoons of blood. In approximately half of the attempts, the team was able to isolate the EPCs to expand to make millions of endothelial cells that can behave like the cells of a blood vessel.

Once the endothelial-like cell colonies were established, the research team performed a battery of tests to examine the properties and functionality of the cell.

"These new tests show that these endothelial-like cells can inhibit blood clotting and can prevent platelets from adhering to their surface," says Ameer. "But if you antagonize the cells or stimulate them, they will also respond the same way that an endothelial cell would and will clot blood if needed."

The study is an important step in identifying methods to build a tissue-engineered vascular graft. Synthetic grafts, used to treat common diseases such as peripheral arterial disease, have lower success rates when used in small-diameter arteries, such as those found in the leg.

"These small-diameter synthetic grafts are more prone to blood clots and other complications, especially over time," Ameer says. "It's thought that a tissue-engineered graft would allow us to preserve many of the body's natural defenses against these complications."

The Stem Cell paper is titled "Toward Engineering a Human Neoendothelium With Circulating Progenitor Cells." In addition to Ameer, other authors are Josephine B. Allen, Sadiya Khan and Karen A. Lapidos, all of Northwestern.

The work was funded by the Illinois Regenerative Medicine Institute, the Department of Defense and the American Heart Association.

Kyle Delaney | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.northwestern.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht More genes are active in high-performance maize
19.01.2018 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

nachricht How plants see light
19.01.2018 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Artificial agent designs quantum experiments

On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.

We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

Im Focus: Room-temperature multiferroic thin films and their properties

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.

Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Let the good tubes roll

19.01.2018 | Materials Sciences

How cancer metastasis happens: Researchers reveal a key mechanism

19.01.2018 | Health and Medicine

Meteoritic stardust unlocks timing of supernova dust formation

19.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>