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Stem Cells have been Successfully Transformed into Precursor Cells for the Production of Tissues

Researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles, have found that human stem cells can be induced to somites by properly mixing signaling molecules (special proteins) involved in body development with human stem cells, according to a recent study published in the International Journal Cell Reports. In developing embryos, these somatic ganglion cells can produce skeletal muscle, bone tissue and cartilage tissue. In the laboratory, these somatic ganglion cells growing in Petri dishes have the potential to grow into these types of cells. 

Pluripotent stem cells can be transformed into any type of cell in the body, but researchers want to try to guide these stem cells to produce specific tissues, such as muscle tissue. In developing human embryos and muscle cells, like bone and cartilage in the spine and ribs, originate from clusters of cells called somatic ganglia. Researchers have elucidated the development mechanism of somatoid joints in animal organisms, and identified a special molecule that is very important for somatoid development. But when researchers tried to use these molecules to induce human stem cells to produce somatoid ganglion cells, the whole process did not show a certain effect.

In this paper, the researchers isolated very small developing human somites, and measured the expression levels of different genes before and after the complete formation of these somites. During the formation of somites, the expression of each gene changed. Then the researchers detected that whether it can help promote cell transformation into somatoid cells gene expression by adding enhanced and inhibited molecules to human pluripotent stem cells. The results show that the performance of optimized molecular mixtures in humans is not the same as that in animals, so researchers will be able to use this new molecular combination in just four days and it transforms 90% of human stem cells into somatic ganglion cells. 

The researchers then tracked these cells for four weeks to determine whether these somatoganglion cells produced a variety of types of cells or not, including skeletal muscle, bone and cartilage. This new method of using human pluripotent stem cells to produce somatoid cells may help researchers to do more in-depth research. Next, they plan to use muscle cells from new somatoid cells to treat Duchenne muscular dystrophy, which is a serious form of muscular dystrophy without effective treatment now. 


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