Fallopian tubes normally discarded after hysterectomies and other procedures could become rich potential sources for mesenchymal stem cells which like other types of stem cell can be coaxed to develop into a variety of cell types, according to a new study by researchers in Brazil.

Researchers from the University of São Paulo’s Human Genome Research Centre, which is directed by Dr Mayana Zatz conducted the study in collaboration with medical doctors from the University’s reproductive surgery department. The results are published as an online paper in BioMed Central’s open access Journal of Translational Medicine.

The authors wrote that scientists have already discovered that umbilical cords, dental pulp and fat tissue, which they described as “biological discards”, yield mesenchymal stem cells that can develop into muscle, fat, bone and cartilage tissue.

This prompted them and other teams to look for more sources, since stem cells obtained this way don’t raise the ethical problems that occur when stem cells are taken from embryos. As first author Tatiana Jazedje noted in a separate statement:

“Use of human tissue fragments that are usually discarded in surgical procedures does not pose ethical problems.”

In this study the Brazilian team used fallopian tubes obtained from hysterectomy and other gynecological procedures undergone by fertile women aged from 35 to 55 who had been clear of any hormone treatments for at least three months beforehand.

After isolating mesenchymal stem cells from the fallopian tubes, the researchers found that they were quite easy to expand in vitro where they differentiated readily into muscle, fat, cartilage and bone cell lines.

The researchers found no abnormality in the chromosomes of the new cell lines, suggesting they had good chromosomal stability.

They concluded that:

“Human tube MSCs [mesenchymal stem cells] can be easily isolated, expanded in vitro, present a mesenchymal profile and are able to differentiate into muscle, fat, cartilage and bone in vitro. “

Jazedje said that as well suggesting a possible new source of stem cells for regenerative treatments, their findings will hopefully help reproductive science as a whole.

“Human fallopian tube: a new source of multipotent adult mesenchymal stem cells discarded in surgical procedures.”
Tatiana Jazedje, Paulo M Perin, Carlos E Czeresnia, Mariangela Maluf, Silvio Halpern, Mariane Secco, Daniela F Bueno, Natassia M Vieira, Eder Zucconi, Mayana Zatz.
Journal of Translational Medicine 2009, 7:46.
Published online 18 June 2009.

Source: BioMed Central.

Written by: Catharine Paddock, PhD