Scientists at Michigan State University have discovered a new kind of stem cell, one that could lead to advances in regenerative medicine as well as offer new ways to study birth defects and other reproductive problems.
In the current issue of the journal Stem Cell Reports, Tony Parenti, lead author and MSU cell and molecular biology graduate student, unearthed the new cells – induced XEN cells, or iXEN – in a cellular trash pile, of sorts.
“Other scientists may have seen these cells before, but they were considered to be defective, or cancer-like,” said Parenti, who works in the lab of Amy Ralston, MSU biochemist, cell and molecular biologist and co-author of the study. “Rather than ignore these cells that have been mislabeled as waste byproducts, we found gold in the garbage.”
A great deal of stem cell research focuses on new ways to make and use pluripotent stem cells. Pluripotent stem cells can be created by reactivating embryonic genes to “reprogram” mature adult cells. Reprogramming mature cells into induced pluripotent stem cells, or iPS cells, allows them to become malleable building blocks that can morph into any cell in the body.
For example, if a patient has a defective liver, healthy cells could be taken from the patient, reprogrammed into iPS cells, which could then be used to help regenerate the person’s failing organ. Taking cells from the same patient may greatly reduce the chance of the body rejecting the new treatment, Parenti said.
Prior to the discovery of reprogramming, scientists developed pluripotent stem cells from embryos. However, the embryo produces not only pluripotent stem cells, but also XEN cells, a stem cell type with unique properties. While pluripotent stem cells produce cells in the body, XEN cells produce extraembryonic tissues that play an essential but indirect role in fetal development.
Parenti and his team speculated that if the embryo produces both pluripotent and XEN cells, this might also occur during reprogramming.
The eureka moment came when Parenti discovered colonies of iXEN cells popping up like weeds in his iPS cell cultures. Using mice models, the team spent six months proving that these genetic weeds are not cancer-like, as previously suspected, but in fact, a new kind of stem cell with desirable properties.
Even more surprising, the team found that by inhibiting expression of XEN genes during reprogramming, they could decrease production of iXEN cells and increase production of iPS cells.
“Nature makes stem cells perfectly, but we are still trying to improve our stem cell production,” Parenti said. “We took what we learned by studying the embryo and applied it to reprogramming, and this opened up a new way to optimize reprogramming.”
The team wouldn’t have made this breakthrough without the high level of collaboration and access to cutting-edge facilities at Michigan State, he added.
The next steps of this research will involve seeing if this process occurs in human cells. XEN cells have yet to be discovered in humans, but the possibility of their existence is a key focus of the field.
“It’s a missing tool that we don’t have yet,” Ralston said. “It’s true that XEN cells have characteristics that pluripotent stem cells do not have. Because of those traits, iXEN cells can shed light on reproductive diseases. If we can continue to unlock the secrets of iXEN cells, we may be able to improve induced pluripotent stem cell quality and lay the groundwork for future research on tissues that protect and nourish the human embryo.”
Learn more: MSU DISCOVERS A NEW KIND OF STEM CELL
The Latest on: iXEN cells
via Google News
The Latest on: iXEN cells
- New type of stem cell found ‘in the garbage’on March 6, 2019 at 4:00 pm
The cells are called induced XEN cells, or iXEN. “Other scientists may have seen these cells before, but they were considered to be defective, or cancer-like,” says Parenti, who works in the ...
- Efficient derivation of extraembryonic endoderm stem cell lines from mouse postimplantation embryoson December 18, 2016 at 4:00 pm
Various types of stem cell lines have been derived from preimplantation or postimplantation mouse embryos: embryonic stem cell lines, epiblast stem cell lines, and trophoblast stem cell lines.
- Cryptic "Garbage" Cell Turns Out To Be New Type Of Stem Cellon March 10, 2016 at 6:45 am
As the study in the journal Stem Cell Reports reveals, these “iXEN” stem cells were once thought to be potentially dangerous byproducts of other developing stem cells. In fact, they may prove ...
- We Just Discovered a New Type of Stem Cellon March 7, 2016 at 4:00 pm
Now, scientists might have found a brand new type of stem cell. Called XEN, also referred to as iXEN, it could lead to new insights into birth defects, reproductive problems, and regenerative ...
- Induced XEN Cells: New Kind of Stem Cell That Could Advance Regenerative Medicineon March 7, 2016 at 2:27 pm
Scientists have discovered a new kind of stem cell - induced XEN cells, or iXEN - one that could lead to advances in regenerative medicine as well as offer new ways to study birth defects and ...
- Scientists Discover A New Kind Of Stem Cellon March 7, 2016 at 1:19 pm
There's a new stem cell in town: induced XEN, or iXEN. Scientists thought for years they were a byproduct of other developing stem cells, but researchers have now determined that they are their ...
- Scientists Discover New Kind of Stem Cell: iXENon March 4, 2016 at 12:55 pm
A team of researchers led by Michigan State University biochemist and molecular biologist Amy Ralston has discovered a new kind of stem cell — induced extraembryonic endoderm stem (iXEN ...
- Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells May Help in Treating Birth Defectson March 4, 2016 at 6:45 am
unearthed the new cells - induced XEN cells, or iXEN - in a cellular trash pile, of sorts. ‘Healthy cells could be taken from the patient, reprogrammed into iPS (induced pluripotent stem ...
- New Type of Stem Cell Discoveredon March 4, 2016 at 6:43 am
induced XEN cells, or iXEN, in a cellular trash pile, of sorts. The research is described in Stem Cell Reports. “Other scientists may have seen these cells before, but they were considered to be ...
- New kind of stem cell discoveredon March 3, 2016 at 12:22 pm
unearthed the new cells -- induced XEN cells, or iXEN -- in a cellular trash pile, of sorts. "Other scientists may have seen these cells before, but they were considered to be defective ...
via Bing News