Creating a free account will enable you to subscribe to our daily and weekly email newsletters, as well as customize your reading experience to show only the categories most relevant to you.
Signing up only take a few minutes, so why not give it a try and see what you've been missing out on.
It may be possible one day to treat several lung diseases by introducing proteins that direct lung stem cells to grow the specific cell types needed to repair the lung injuries involved in the conditions, according to new research at Boston Children's Hospital.
Reporting in the journal Cell, researchers led by Carla Kim, PhD, and Joo-Hyeon Lee, PhD, of the Stem Cell Research Program at Boston Children's, describe a new pathway in the lung, activated by injury, that directs stem cells to transform into specific types of cells. By enhancing this natural pathway in a mouse model, they successfully increased production of alveolar epithelial cells, which line the small sacs (alveoli) where gas exchange takes place. These cells are irreversibly damaged in diseases like pulmonary fibrosis and emphysema.
By inhibiting the same pathway, the researchers ramped up production of airway epithelial cells, which become damaged in diseases affecting the lung's airways, such as asthma and bronchiolitis obliterans.
Using a novel 3D culture model that mimics the environment of the lung, the researchers showed that even a single lung stem cell could be coaxed into producing alveolar and bronchiolar epithelial cells. By adding a protein known as thrombospondin-1 (TSP-1) to these cultures, they prodded the stem cells to generate alveolar cells.
Kim and Lee conducted experiments using a live mouse model of fibrosis. By simply taking the endothelial cells that line the lung's many small blood vessels - which naturally produce TSP-1 - and directly injecting the liquid surrounding the cultured cells into the mice, they were able to reverse the lung damage.
Conversely, when the team used lung endothelial cells that lacked TSP-1 in the 3D cultures, the stem cells produced more airway cells. In live mice engineered to lack TSP-1, airway repair was enhanced after injury.
"When lung cells are injured, there seems to be a cross talk between the damaged cells, the lung endothelial cells and the stem cells," says Lee, who is first author on the paper.
"We think that lung endothelial cells produce a lot of repair factors besides TSP-1," adds Kim, the paper's senior author. "We want to find all these molecules, which could provide additional therapeutic targets."
The study was supported by the Hope Funds for Cancer Research, the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (U01 HL100402; 1U01HL099997; RFA-HL-09-004; RO1 HL090136), an American Cancer Society Research Scholar Grant (RSG-08-082-01-MGO), a Basil O'Conner March of Dimes Starter Award and the Harvard Stem Cell Institute.
Article adapted by Medical News Today from original press release. Click 'references' tab above for source.
Visit our Respiratory / Asthma category page for the latest news on this subject.
Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:
Hospital, Boston Children's. "By coaxing production of healthy cells, some lung diseases reversed in mice." Medical News Today. MediLexicon, Intl., 3 Feb. 2014. Web.
8 Mar. 2014. <http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/272008>
Hospital, B. (2014, February 3). "By coaxing production of healthy cells, some lung diseases reversed in mice." Medical News Today. Retrieved from
Please note: If no author information is provided, the source is cited instead.
If you write about specific medications, operations, or procedures please do not name healthcare professionals by name.
For any corrections of factual information, or to contact our editorial team, please use our feedback form. Please send any medical news or health news press releases to:
Note: Any medical information published on this website is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice and you should not take any action before consulting with a health care professional. For more information, please read our terms and conditions.
This page was printed from: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/272008.php
Visit www.medicalnewstoday.com for medical news and health news headlines posted throughout the day, every day.
© 2004-2014 All rights reserved. MNT (logo) is the registered trade mark of MediLexicon International Limited.