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Monthly Archives: December 2012

Chinese scientists turn human urine into brain cells

It's Interesting

NPGs_from_urine

 

Chinese researchers have developed a new technique for isolating kidney cells from urine and turning them into neural progenitors — –immature brain cells that can develop into various types of glial cells and neurons. Reprogramming cells has been done before, of course, but not with cells gleaned from urine and not via a method this direct. The technique could prove extremely helpful to those pursuing treatments for neurodegenerative disorders like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

The innovation here is in the source and the method. We know that embryonic stem cells offer potential treatments for neurodegenerative disorders. And we know that we can turn adult human cells–that is, non-embryonic cells gathered from adult humans–into pluripotent cells (those that can become a different type of cell) by reprogramming them, usually with genetically engineered viruses that tamper with the cells’ genetic codes.

But embryonic stem cell treatments are fraught with ethical issues and…

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Posted by on December 12, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Nice article on Wnt signalling

Intestinal homeostasis and stem cells are not affected when Paneth cells stop producing Wnt, but Wnt is required to maintain the stem cell niche in intestinal epithelial cultures, according to a mouse study in the December issue of Gastroenterology. These findings indicate that underlying mesenchymal cells provide a secondary physiological source of Wnt to intestinal stem cells.

Wnt signaling regulates many aspects of intestinal physiology, and also maintains stem cells. Paneth cells (which reside at the base of the crypt, interspersed with Lgr5+ stem cells) support the stem cells, producing important signaling factors. These include the Wnt ligands Wnt3, Wnt6, and Wnt9b; the Notch ligands Dll-1 and Dll-4; and EGF. However, it is not clear if Paneth cell production of all these factors is required to maintain the stem cell niche.

To examine the roles of Wnt production in the intestinal epithelia, Henner Farin et al. created mice…

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Posted by on December 4, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Lipid metabolism regulates the activity of adult neural stem cells

“Neural stem cells in the adult brain boost their levels of lipid metabolism to grow and generate new neurons. This new finding may open novel therapeutic avenues to treat age- or disease-associated loss of brain cells.”

Lipid metabolism regulates the activity of adult neural stem cells.

A dormant stem cell (left, with extensions) is activated and starts cell division. The key for growth and development of the dividing cell (middle, no extensions) to the adult nerve cell (red, right), is a massive increase of fatty acid synthesis. (Image: Simon Braun, HiFo, UZH)

Courtesy of Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich