Stem cells develop best in 3D
Scientists from The Danish Stem Cell Center (DanStem) at the University of Copenhagen are contributing important knowledge about how stem cells develop best into insulin-producing cells. In the long term this new knowledge can improve diabetes treatment with cell therapy. The results have just been published in the scientific journal Cell Reports.
Stem cells are responsible for tissue growth and tissue repair after injury. Therefore, the discovery that these vital cells grow better in a three-dimensional environment is important for the future treatment of disease with stem cell therapy.
"We can see that the quality of the cells produced two-dimensionally is not good enough. By putting the cells in a three-dimensional environment and giving them the proper growth conditions, we get much better results. Therefore we are developing a three-dimensional culture medium in gelatine in the laboratory to mimic the one inside an embryo," says Professor Anne Grapin-Botton from DanStem at the University of Copenhagen, who produced the results together with colleagues from Switzerland and Belgium.
The international research team hopes that the new knowledge about three-dimensional cell growth environments can make a significant contribution to the development of cell therapies for treating diabetes. In the long term this knowledge can also be used to develop stem cell treatments for chronic diseases in internal organs such as the liver or lungs. Like the pancreas, these organs are developed from stem cells in 3D.
From stem cells to specialised cells
The research team has investigated how the three-dimensional organisation of tissue in the early embryonic stage influences development from stem cells to more specialised cells.
"We can see that the pancreas looks like a beautiful little tree with branches. Stem cells along the branches need this structure to be able to create insulin-producing cells in the embryo. Our research suggests that in the laboratory beta cells can develop better from stem cells in 3D than if we try to get them to develop flat in a Petri dish," explains Professor Grapin-Botton.
"Attempts to develop functional beta cells in 2D have unfortunately most often resulted in poorly functioning cells. Our results from developing cells in 3D have yielded promising results and are therefore an important step on the way to developing cell therapies for treating diabetes."
The research is supported by the Novo Nordisk Foundation, Swiss National Research Foundation, and the National Institute of Health (NIH), USA.
The results from the paper "Planar Cell Polarity Controls Pancreatic Beta Cell Differentiation and Glucose Homeostasis" have just been published in the scientific journal Cell Reports.
Professor Anne Grapin-Botton
Mobile phone: +45 29634398
Anne Grapin-Botton | EurekAlert!
The most recent press releases about innovation >>>
Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:
Planet Earth experienced a global climate shift in the late 1980s on an unprecedented scale, fuelled by anthropogenic warming and a volcanic eruption, according to new research published this week.
Scientists say that a major step change, or ‘regime shift’, in the Earth’s biophysical systems, from the upper atmosphere to the depths of the ocean and from...
Fraunhofer ISE Demonstrates New Cell and Module Technologies on its Outer Building Façade
The Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE has installed 70 photovoltaic modules on the outer façade of one of its lab buildings. The modules were...
Nerve cells cover their high energy demand with glucose and lactate. Scientists of the University of Zurich now provide new support for this. They show for the first time in the intact mouse brain evidence for an exchange of lactate between different brain cells. With this study they were able to confirm a 20-year old hypothesis.
In comparison to other organs, the human brain has the highest energy requirements. The supply of energy for nerve cells and the particular role of lactic acid...
In laser material processing, the simulation of processes has made great strides over the past few years. Today, the software can predict relatively well what will happen on the workpiece. Unfortunately, it is also highly complex and requires a lot of computing time. Thanks to clever simplification, experts from Fraunhofer ILT are now able to offer the first-ever simulation software that calculates processes in real time and also runs on tablet computers and smartphones. The fast software enables users to do without expensive experiments and to find optimum process parameters even more effectively.
Before now, the reliable simulation of laser processes was a job for experts. Armed with sophisticated software packages and after many hours on computer...
Heidelberg physicists use ultracold atoms to imitate the behaviour of electrons in a solid
Researchers at Heidelberg University have devised a new way to study the phenomenon of magnetism. Using ultracold atoms at near absolute zero, they prepared a...