24 December 2012

Stem cells: life after death

A posthumous source of stem cells has been named

Kirill Stasevich, CompulentaThe peculiarity of mesenchymal stem cells is that they do not irritate someone else's immune system during transplantation – unlike other transplanted tissues.

In addition, these cells living in the bone marrow can turn into a variety of tissue types: cartilage, bone, fat, etc. Injection of mesenchymal stem cells can theoretically repair damaged tissue in the heart after a heart attack. Although their ability to calm the immune system often leads to an unexpected negative effect when transplanted cells begin to attack the body of a new host, mesenchymal stem cells are a coveted target of researchers and doctors working in regenerative medicine and transplantology.

Mesenchymal table cells (photo by julitamonse).

At the same time, the resources of such cells are usually very, very limited: a lot of them are needed for treatment, and donation will not help here. To eliminate the chronic shortage of mesenchymal stem cells, researchers from the University of Miami (USA) suggest taking them from an unusual source – from dead bodies.

Most cells of the body do not live more than two days after death. But mesenchymal stem cells, due to their ability to tolerate oxygen deficiency, show great vitality, and, according to the researchers, can live not two, but as many as five days.

Scientists extracted cells from the bone marrow of dead bodies, allowed them to recover and after five weeks tried to turn them into cells of a different type. At the World Congress of Stem Cell Researchers held recently in Florida, scientists reported their results: mesenchymal stem cells extracted from dead bodies successfully turned into cartilage, bone and adipose tissue cells. Now they are trying to turn these "cells from the other world" into cells of the intestine and nervous tissue.

In a corpse, unlike a living person, you can take all mesenchymal stem cells without looking back at the well-being of the "donor". However, there is a possibility that even all cells from one body will not be enough, and taking stem cells for medical purposes from several sources at once is strictly prohibited by medical regulatory authorities, at least in the USA. In addition, it is necessary to find out whether mesenchymal stem cells tolerate the death of the body so easily, whether damage associated with a lack of oxygen, a decrease in temperature and other stressful factors does not accumulate in their DNA.

This is not the first time researchers have drawn attention to the amazing resistance of stem cells to death. Not so long ago, scientists from the French Pasteur Institute reported on stem cells that lived for 17 days in a dead body and after that were able to turn into other, specialized cells.

Prepared based on the materials of NewScientist: Cadaver stem cells offer new hope of life after death.

Portal "Eternal youth" http://vechnayamolodost.ru24.12.2012

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