Latest News And Breaking Headlines

We’re one step closer to making organs in a dish

stem cells

Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Imagine being able to repair damaged tissue in your organs. That’s where stem cell research is heading, because stem cells have enormous potential to produce the cells of organs such as the liver, pancreas and gut.

For decades, scientists have tried to mimic the path stem cells follow to form organs in embryos, for example. However, despite extensive efforts, it was very difficult to get cells to develop properly in the lab. But they may have overlooked an important step and may be missing a different type of stem cells, a new study from the University of Copenhagen suggests.

“To put it very simply, a number of recent studies have tried to make an gut from stem cells in a dish. We’ve found a new way to do this, a way that follows different aspects of what happens in the embryo. Here we found a new pathway that the embryo uses, and we describe the intermediate stage that different types of stem cells could use to make the gut and other organs,” says Ph.D. student at Martin Proks, one of the main authors of the study from the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Stem Cell Medicine at the University of Copenhagen (reNEW).

The researchers looked at so-called pluripotent stem cells and endoderm extra-embryonic stem cells. Extra-embryonic endoderm cells are a new stem cell line that the same research team described a few years ago. They contribute to the gut organs by being important support cells that provide membranes, nourish the membranes and more.

Group leader and professor Joshua Brickman at reNEW explains: “We identified an alternative pathway that so-called extra-embryonic cells can use to make gut organs in the embryo. We then took our extra-embryonic endoderm stem cells and developed them into gut organs in the embryo. organ-like structures in the shell.

“But until the very recent past, people assumed that these cells helped the embryo develop and then they’re gone. That they have nothing to do with your body. So in this article, we found that if we send these support cells through these new alternative route they would in fact form organoid structures,” says Joshua Brickman of the findings, which were published in Nature cell biology

Could improve lab-grown cells

The researchers identified all potential cells that were candidates to form organs related to the digestive tract, such as liver, pancreas, lung and gut, based on labeling them with a genetic marker. This big data is difficult to analyze and required innovative new analytical approaches developed in collaboration with natural scientists at the Niels Bohr Institute.

“We then identified the genes used in these cells. To facilitate this work, we developed a new computer tool to compare clusters of cells, both to compare cells within our own data set and to investigate others,” explains associate professor Ala Trusina of the Niels Bohr Institute.

To ask whether organ cell types can be created via the alternative route in the lab, the researchers set to work with a different type of stem cells. These stem cells, described earlier in the paper, originate from a different part of the embryo than pluripotent stem cells and appear to be the starting point for the second or alternative pathway of organ formation.

“We then used these stem cells to generate intestinal organ-like structures in a dish. The findings suggest that both pathways could work. Using the alternative pathway could help lab-grown cells form functional cells and treat and study diseases. said Michaela Rothova, one of the study’s other lead authors.

It could be an important discovery, as scientists have long been trying to crack the code on how to develop stem cells into the right cells needed for a specific treatment, or to test drugs or model a disease.

“We’re not quite there yet in terms of function and we’re having trouble maturing these cells. So maybe we can solve some of these problems by trying this alternative route or by combining the alternative route with the traditional route,” concludes Joshua Brickman. at reNEW.

Mouse stem cells established for primitive endoderm

More information:
Michaela Mrugala Rothová et al, Identification of the central intermediate in the extraembryonic to embryonic endoderm transition by means of single cell transcriptomics, Nature cell biology (2022). DOI: 10.1038/s41556-022-00923-x

Provided by the University of Copenhagen

Quote: Stem Cells Unraveled: We’re One Step Closer to Making Organs in a Shell (2022, June 14) Retrieved June 14, 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-06-stem-cells-unraveled-closer – dish.html

This document is copyrighted. Other than fair dealing for personal study or research, nothing may be reproduced without written permission. The content is provided for informational purposes only.

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More