Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Fat Cells Heal Skull Defects In Mice, Stanford Research Shows

Date:
May 7, 2004
Source:
Stanford University Medical Center
Summary:
Certain types of cells from fat tissue can repair skull defects in mice, say researchers at Stanford University Medical Center.

STANFORD, Calif. – Certain types of cells from fat tissue can repair skull defects in mice, say researchers at Stanford University Medical Center. Because this type of healing process does not depend on the use of embryonic stem cells or gene therapy, it may one day allow doctors to use a patient’s own unmodified cells as building blocks to heal fractures, replace joints, treat osteoporosis or correct defects in bone growth or healing.

Related Articles


“These cells are from you, for you and by you,” said Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital pediatric craniofacial surgeon Michael Longaker, MD. “They are not foreign and they don’t express foreign genes. To our knowledge, this is the first time these cells have ever been shown to have a therapeutic effect.” Longaker, a professor of surgery at Stanford’s School of Medicine, is the senior author of the research, published in the May issue of Nature Biotechnology.

“Fat is a great natural resource,” he added. “These cells are not only easily harvested, they grow quickly in the laboratory.” In contrast, bone marrow cells and bone cells, both of which can also repair skull damage, grow very slowly outside of the body.

Longaker and his colleagues have spent several years investigating the special qualities of the fat-derived cells, which are isolated from fat pockets under the skin of juvenile or adult animals. They’ve found that the cells, also known as multipotent cells, can be coaxed in the laboratory to express the genes and characteristics of many other tissue types, including bone, cartilage and muscle cells. But it was not known if these cells are equally versatile within the body.

In the study, researchers implanted the cells, seeded on a bonelike scaffolding, into defects that would not otherwise heal in the skulls of mice. They assessed new bone formation after two and 12 weeks, finding that the fat-derived cells were just as effective as the more finicky bone marrow cells at synthesizing new bone to bridge the defect. In contrast, cells derived from tissue that covers the brain showed no bone growth during the same time period.

The new bone growth began next to the brain, suggesting those cells were sending out bone growth-promoting signals and emphasizing the importance of the local environment in determining cell fate.

“The analogy is one of seeds and soil,” said Longaker. “The cells are the seeds, and the soil that enables them to form bone consists of the scaffolding and the signals of neighboring cells.”

Because more than 95 percent of the new bone growth was made up of implanted cells, researchers speculate the fat-derived cells either became bone themselves, as they have done in the laboratory, or fused with existing bone-making cells in the host to spur new growth.

If the researchers’ findings can be reproduced in humans, they may lead to new, more effective and biologically gentle ways to promote healing of tricky fractures and skeletal defects.

“After age 2, you don’t re-engineer a defect in your skull,” said Longaker. “Currently, surgeons use bone grafts from the patient’s ribs or split other parts of the skull horizontally to gain enough bone to cover the area. Alternatively, they can rely on plastic or metal inserts. But all of these options can give you problems with infection and healing, and can be invasive and technically difficult.”

Other conditions that might benefit from the use of the multipotent cells include joint replacement, spinal fusion, osteoporosis and osteomyelitis, a bacterial infection of the bone.

“As more people are active in sports and live longer, the wear and tear on joints is obvious,” said Longaker. “The non-human tissue we use to replace joints may last 10 to 20 years if it’s well integrated. Our hope is that we could do better by replacing that with your own tissue. The key to this type of regenerative medicine is to understand the developmental biology of skeleton formation during embryogenesis, and figuring out how to release those same coaching signals in children and adults.

“These cells are readily available, easily expandable and they don’t require gene therapy to work,” he added. “In the future we may not have to leave the operating room or the patient’s bedside to use cell-based therapies for skeletal regenerative medicine.”

The work was supported by a grant from the Oak Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

Stanford University Medical Center. "Fat Cells Heal Skull Defects In Mice, Stanford Research Shows." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 May 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/05/040506072322.htm>.
Stanford University Medical Center. (2004, May 7). Fat Cells Heal Skull Defects In Mice, Stanford Research Shows. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/05/040506072322.htm
Stanford University Medical Center. "Fat Cells Heal Skull Defects In Mice, Stanford Research Shows." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/05/040506072322.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Texas Nurse Nina Pham Cured of Ebola

Texas Nurse Nina Pham Cured of Ebola

AFP (Oct. 25, 2014) — An American nurse who contracted Ebola while caring for a Liberian patient in Texas has been declared free of the virus and will leave the hospital. Duration: 01:01 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

Buzz60 (Oct. 24, 2014) — IKEA is out with a new convertible desk that can convert from a sitting desk to a standing one with just the push of a button. Jen Markham explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

AFP (Oct. 24, 2014) — A factory in China is busy making Ebola protective suits for healthcare workers and others fighting the spread of the virus. Duration: 00:38 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) — The World Health Organization said on Friday that millions of doses of two experimental Ebola vaccines could be ready for use in 2015 and five more experimental vaccines would start being tested in March. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
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