Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Fat Cells Transformed To Resemble Nerve Cells

Date:
May 31, 2002
Source:
Duke University Medical Center
Summary:
Like biochemical alchemists, investigators from Duke University Medical Center and Artecel Sciences, Inc., have transformed adult stem cells taken from fat into cells that appear to be nerve cells.

DURHAM, N.C. -- Like biochemical alchemists, investigators from Duke University Medical Center and Artecel Sciences, Inc., have transformed adult stem cells taken from fat into cells that appear to be nerve cells.

Related Articles


During the past several years, Duke researchers and scientists from Artecel demonstrated the ability to reprogram adult stem cells taken from human liposuction procedures into fat, cartilage and bone cells. All of these cells arise from mesenchymal, or connective tissue, parentage. However, the latest experiments have demonstrated that researchers can transform these stem cells from fat into a totally different lineage, that of neuronal cells.

Although it is unclear at this point whether or not the new cells will function like native nerve cells, the researchers are optimistic that if future experiments are as successful as the ones to date, these new cells have the potential to treat central nervous system diseases and disorders.

"These experiments are proof of principle that it is possible to change one lineage of adult stem cells into another using fat," said Duke's Henry Rice, M.D., pediatric surgeon and senior author of the paper published today (May 31, 2002) in the journal Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications (BBRC), a journal that publishes fast-breaking research in experimental biology. "If future studies in animal models are successful, we'll have gone a long way toward demonstrating the power of these cells to treat human diseases."

The research was supported by the American College of Surgeons and Artecel Sciences in Durham. Rice is a consultant for Artecel Sciences.

The team conducted parallel experiments in mice and human cells. In both cases, mouse adipose (fat) cells and fat cells taken from human liposuction procedures were treated with chemicals and growth factors and allowed to grow in the laboratory.

"Within hours the treated cells in both models began to look like neuronal cells and began to produce measurable amounts of proteins normally expressed by nerve cells," Rice said.

"This is a promising first step in the use of an abundant source of adult stem cells in the setting of central nervous system repair," said Jeffrey Gimble, M.D., chief scientific office at Artecel and co-author of the BBRC paper. "While it is known that you can create neuronal cells from adult stem cells taken from bone marrow, we feel that our approach with fat offers a limitless supply of readily obtainable adult stem cells."

Until recently, it was believed that organisms were born with the full complement of neuronal cells, and that new neurons could not be formed. According to the scientists, their research, as well as the experiments performed by others on bone marrow stem cells, open up new possibilities for the treatment of nervous system disorders or injuries.

"We are trying to think about human disease in a new way," Gimble said. "Everyone is used to the concept of surgical, medical or pharmacological approaches to the treatment of disease -- we're looking at one of the next steps in biotechnology, which is using cellular therapies."

The researchers are quick to point out that there are still many hurdles to be overcome before the use of these cells can occur in a clinical setting.

First, the cells were grown in tissue culture and survived after neuronal differentiation for several days. The researchers are confident that as they refine their techniques and evaluate different growth factors, they can extend the lifespan of these cells.

Secondly, while the new nerve cells have a form and function that resemble native nerve cells, it is not known if they will function in the same way as native nerve cells. The next series of experiments in the mouse model will test how the new cells react in a living system and if they will function like nerve cells, the researchers say.

The researchers believe the first animal models will focus on acute injuries such as stroke, in which blocked blood flow to the brain causes brain cell death, and spinal cord injuries. Other members of the team are, from Duke, Kristine Safford and Shawn Safford, M.D., and from Artecel Sciences, Kevin Hicok, Ph.D., Yuan-Di Halvorsen, Ph.D., and William Wilkison, Ph.D.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Duke University Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Duke University Medical Center. "Fat Cells Transformed To Resemble Nerve Cells." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 May 2002. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/05/020531072749.htm>.
Duke University Medical Center. (2002, May 31). Fat Cells Transformed To Resemble Nerve Cells. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/05/020531072749.htm
Duke University Medical Center. "Fat Cells Transformed To Resemble Nerve Cells." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/05/020531072749.htm (accessed December 18, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

AP (Dec. 18, 2014) As part of a six-month investigation of child maltreatment deaths, the AP found that hundreds of deaths from horrific abuse and neglect could have been prevented. AP's Haven Daley reports. (Dec. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

AFP (Dec. 17, 2014) Border closures, quarantines and crop losses in West African nations battling the Ebola virus could lead to as many as one million people going hungry, UN food agencies said on Wednesday. Duration: 00:52 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) Can fat disappear into thin air? New research finds that during weight loss, over 80 percent of a person's fat molecules escape through the lungs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Your Boss Should Let You Sleep In

Why Your Boss Should Let You Sleep In

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) According to research out of the University of Pennsylvania, waking up for work is the biggest factor that causes Americans to lose sleep. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins