A researcher at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, together with Israeli and foreign collaborators, has revealed how physical qualities -- and not only chemical ones – may have an influence in determining how adult stem cells from the bone marrow develop into differentiated ones. This represents an important step in understanding the mechanisms that direct and regulate the specialization of stem cells from their undefined state.
Scientists around the world are involved in studying, describing and even manipulating the development of stem cells on their path into becoming specialized cells, such as heart, muscle, brain or any other tissue. This research has tremendous implications for the future utilization of stem cells as a new tool of medical treatment.
In an article published in Nature Physics, Dr. Assaf Zemel of the Institute of Dental Sciences at the Hebrew University and his fellow researchers, Prof. Samuel Safran from the Weizmann Institute of Science, Dr. Florian Rehfeldt from Gottingen University in Germany, and Dr. Andre Brown and Prof. Dennis Discher from the University of Pennsylvania, tell how they have developed a theoretical model and carried out experiments on stem cells to propose a mechanism for the recently discovered sensitivity of stem cell differentiation to the rigidity of their surroundings.
They described the physical changes that take place in stem cells that are layered on supporting foundations of differing rigidities. They showed that on a supporting matrix whose rigidity mimics that of muscle tissue, the cells become elongated and filled with aligned muscle-like fibers. The authors explain how this situation is fundamentally different from the case where the supporting substance is made either softer (to mimic brain tissue) or harder (to mimic bone tissue), in which case the cells adopt more symmetric structures and differentiate into brain and bone cells, respectively.
These findings shed new light on our understanding of the mechanisms that govern the differentiation of stem cells and may have important implications for the design of artificial tissues and the development of novel therapeutic strategies, says Dr. Zemel.
Jerry Barach | EurekAlert!
Breaking the optical bandwidth record of stable pulsed lasers
24.01.2017 | Institut national de la recherche scientifique - INRS
European XFEL prepares for user operation: Researchers can hand in first proposals for experiments
24.01.2017 | European XFEL GmbH
A Swedish-German team of researchers has cleared up a key process for the artificial production of silk. With the help of the intense X-rays from DESY's...
For the first time ever, a cloud of ultra-cold atoms has been successfully created in space on board of a sounding rocket. The MAIUS mission demonstrates that quantum optical sensors can be operated even in harsh environments like space – a prerequi-site for finding answers to the most challenging questions of fundamental physics and an important innovation driver for everyday applications.
According to Albert Einstein's Equivalence Principle, all bodies are accelerated at the same rate by the Earth's gravity, regardless of their properties. This...
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
24.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.01.2017 | Life Sciences
24.01.2017 | Health and Medicine