Cord blood stem cells generate lung epithelium by David Douglas Last Updated: 2008-05-15 15:25:14 -0400 (Reuters Health)
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Stem cells obtained from human umbilical cord blood may make an effective alternative to adult bone marrow and embryonic stem cells for regeneration and repair of injured airway epithelium, according to findings by US and Italian researchers.
"The results of this study," senior investigator Dr. Daniel J. Weiss told Reuters Health, "demonstrate that it is possible to derive lung epithelial cells from human cord blood-origin stem cells."
As described in the April 1st issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, Dr. Weiss of the University of Vermont College of Medicine Burlington, and colleagues obtained human cord blood from normal deliveries, and extracted and cultured mesenchymal stem cells in specialized airway growth media or with specific growth factors.
These cultured cells could be induced to differentially express markers of the airway epithelial phenotype including Clara cell secretory protein, cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR), and surfactant protein C. Systemic administration of the cultured cells to immunotolerant mice led to some localization in the airway and alveolar epithelium. In both regions, the cells acquired cytokeratin expression. Moreover, those that appeared to have engrafted as airway epithelium showed human CFTR expression.
The investigators observe that their approach appears to be comparable to using stem cells from adult bone marrow. "With further research," concluded Dr. Weiss, "we hope these cells could be utilized to repair damaged lungs in diseases such as cystic fibrosis and emphysema." Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2008;177:701-711. http://www.rtmagazine.com/reuters_article.asp?id=20080515scie001%2Ehtml