Nano Bugle

A window into applied science supported by INL

Scientists create nanoenvironment to control stem cells

Within the emerging field of stem cells there is a need for an environment that can regulate cell activity, to slow down differentiation or proliferation, in vitro or in vivo while remaining invisible to the immune system. Researchers form the University of Hong Kong and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology faced that challenge and published the study “Forever Young: How to Control the Elongation, Differentiation, and Proliferation of Cells Using Nanotechnology” in the current issue of Cell Transplantation. The article is freely available here.

By creating a nanoenvironment surrounding PC12 cells, Schwann cells, and neural precursor cells (NPCs), the researchers were able to control the proliferation, elongation, differentiation, and maturation in vitro.

“The successful storage and implantation of stem cells poses significant challenges for tissue engineering in the nervous system, challenges in addition to those inherent to neural regeneration,” said Dr. Ellis-Behnke, corresponding author. “There is a need for creating an environment that can regulate cell activity by delaying cell proliferation, proliferation and maturation. Nanoscaffolds can play a central role in organ regeneration as they act as templates and guides for cell proliferation, differentiation and tissue growth. It is also important to protect these fragile cells from the harsh environment in which they are transplanted.”

According to Dr. Ellis-Behnke, advancements in nanotechnology offer a “new era” in tissue and organ reconstruction. Thus, finding the right nano-sized scaffold could be beneficial, so the research team developed a “self-assembling nanofiber scaffold” (SAPNS), a nanotechnology application to use for implanting young cells.

The researchers concluded that a combination of SAPNS and young cells can be implanted into the central nervous system (CNS), eliminating the need for immunosuppressants.

“Implanted stem cells are adversely susceptible to their new environment and quickly get old, but this study suggests a solution to conquer this problem,” said Prof. Shinn-Zong Lin, professor of Neurosurgery at China University Medical Hospital, Taiwan and Chairman of the Pan Pacific Symposium on Stem Cell Research where part of this work was first presented. “The self-assembling nanofiber scaffold (SAPNS) provides a niche for the encapsulated stem cells by slowing down their growth, differentiation and proliferation, as well as potentially minimizing the immune response, thus enhancing the survival rate of the implanted stem cells. This allows the implanted stem cells to “stay forever young” and extend their neurites to reach distant targets, thereby re-establishing the neural circuits

This combination of stem cells and SAPNS technologies gives a new hope for building up younger neural circuit in the central neural system.”

surce: Euekalert and Cell Transplantation

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December 30, 2009 - Posted by | Nanomedicine

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