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December 14, 2010

Scientists turn stem cells into intestinal tissue

CINCINNATI: A path breaking research for the first time ever, Cincinnati researchers 've created functioning human intestinal tissue in the laboratory from pluripotent stem cells. A pluripotent stem cell, usually used along with embryonic stem cells, refers to a single stem cell that has the capability of developing into cells of all three germ layers (endoderm, mesoderm, ectoderm)

The researchers said that their findings will open the door to unprecedented studies of human intestinal development, function & disease. The process is also a significant step toward generating intestinal tissue for transplantation. James Wells, senior investigator on the study said "This is the first study to demonstrate that human pluripotent stem cells in a petri dish can be instructed to efficiently form human tissue with 3D  architecture & cellular composition remarkably similar to intestinal tissue. The hope is that our ability to turn stem cells into intestinal tissue will eventually be therapeutically beneficial for people with diseases such as necrotising enterocolitis, inflammatory bowel disease & short bowel syndromes."

In the study, scientists used two types of pluripotent cells: human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) & induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). To turn pluripotent stem cells into intestinal tissue, scientists performed a timed series of cell manipulations using chemicals & proteins called growth factors to mimic embryonic intestinal development in the laboratory. The research was reported in Nature.

The first step turned pluripotent stem cells into an embryonic cell type called definitive endoderm, which gives rise to the lining of the esophagus, stomach & intestines as well as the lungs, pancreas & liver. Next, endoderm cells were instructed to become one those organ cell types, specifically embryonic intestinal cells called a 'hindgut progenitors'. The researchers then subjected the cells to what they describe as a "pro-intestinal" cell culture system that promoted intestinal growth.

Within 28 days, it resulted in the formation of three-dimensional tissue resembling fetal intestine that contained all the major intestinal cell types - including enterocytes, goblet, Paneth & enteroendocrine cells. The tissue continued to mature & acquire both the absorptive & secretory functionality of normal human intestinal tissues & also formed intestine-specific stem cells.                                   To promote this post click here...

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