Scientists Successful in Rejuvenating Cells in Elderly Patients
November 8, 2011 11:42 AM
A research team has accomplished the rejuvenation of cells from elderly donors, which could prove to be beneficial for regenerative medicine
A research team from the Functional Genomics Institute has successfully
from elderly donors in vitro to induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) and to rejuvenated human embryonic stem cells (hESC).
Jean-Marc Lemaitre, study leader and Inserm researcher at the Functional Genomics Institute (Inserm, CNRS, and Université de Montpellier 1 and 2), and Inserm's AVENIR Genomic plasticity and aging team, have accomplished the rejuvenation of cells from elderly donors, which could prove to be beneficial for regenerative medicine.
Since 2007, research teams have been able to reprogram human adult cells into iPSCs, which have similar traits as hESCs. HESCs are the desired result because they are undifferentiated cells that can form various types of differentiated adult cells in the body. Using embryonic stem cells is out of the question due to
ethical problems with using stem cells from a human embryo
, so researchers have been using different avenues to achieve the same results.
Up until this point, the method of reprogramming human adult cells into iPSCs has been difficult in elderly patients due to senescence, which is the end stage of cellular aging. But Lemaitre and his team were able to surpass this issue. They used older cells taken from donors that were 74, 92, 94, 96 and up to 101-years-old.
Lemaitre and the team first multiplied fibroblasts from a 74-year-old patient. They acquired the senescence distinguished by the "end of cellular proliferation," and finished the in vitro cell reprogramming. When using the four conventional genetic factors typically used, which are OCT4, SOX2, C MYC, KLF4, this feat was not possible. But when adding NANOG and LIN28 to the cocktail, the senescent cells programmed into functional iPSCs and were able to obtain embryonic pluripotent stem cell-like traits once again. The cells were capable of self-renewal and didn't have any traces of aging.
The research team tested the cells' characteristics through the reverse process, where "rejuvenated" iPSCs were once again differentiated into adult cells and compared to the original cells given by the elderly donors. They found that signs of aging were completely gone and the iPSCs can produce functional cells.
The researchers say that this breakthough with iPSCs could lead to techniques to regenerate new tissues and repair failing organs for older patients.
was published in
Genes & Development
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