Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Tiny Scaffolding Allows Stem Cells To Become Working Fat Cells

Date:
March 23, 2005
Source:
Ohio State University
Summary:
Researchers here have used a new microscopic, three-dimensional scaffolding to coax mouse stem cells to transform themselves into fat cells, and then to function identically to how fat cells naturally do in the body.

Tissue engineered fat cells from pre-adipocytes.
Credit: Image courtesy of Professor Douglas Kniss

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Researchers here have used a new microscopic, three-dimensional scaffolding to coax mouse stem cells to transform themselves into fat cells, and then to function identically to how fat cells naturally do in the body.

While other studies have previously grown fat cells, or adipocytes, in the laboratory, those cells never completely functioned in the same way they do in normal tissue. They failed to produce the genetic and biologic components that all cells require to do their work.

This discovery offers hope of a new approach to growing fat tissue for use in breast reconstruction surgery and other clinical needs, and may even be important for curing type II diabetes.

Douglas Kniss, professor of obstetrics and gynecology and of biomedical engineering at Ohio State University, reported this progress in the current issue of the journal Tissue Engineering.

"There is a serious shortage of transplantable organs available for thousands of patients nationally," Kniss said. "One ultimate goal of this work might be creating new tissue that could serve either as a temporary substitute while waiting for a donor organ, or even providing a replacement organ."

Along with Xihai Kang and Yubing Xie, both postdoctoral fellows in his laboratory, Kniss built a fabric-like carpet of polyethylene terephathalene (PET), or Dacron, fibers that served as scaffolding upon which new fat cells were grown.

In conventional cell cultures, cells usually grow as flat deposits bathed in growth medium. While useful, these "two-dimensional" patches fail to mimic all the tasks performed by cells in vivo. Specific genes, proteins and hormones normally produced by healthy cells are often absent in two-dimensional colonies.

"The PET fibers are spun out onto a mat that resembles the intracellular matrix that bonds cells together in normal tissue. The fibers are about the size of a collagen fiber, several nanometers (a billionth of a meter) across, and provide tensile strength to support the growing tissue," Kniss said.

The researchers then "seeded" that scaffolding with cells called pre-adipocytes cells that had begun their transformation from stem cells. "They just needed to be tweaked with a cocktail of hormones for them to evolve into fat cells," he said.

Kniss said that the transformation into bona fide fat cells took about two weeks to complete. At that point, the cells were able to absorb lipids a hallmark task of fat cells.

Researchers were able to extract RNA from the cells, just as they can from naturally occurring fat cells, and from that proved that the cells expressed the normally expected array of genes, and subsequent proteins and did so as well as occurs in normal tissue.So far, the researchers have kept the cells alive and thriving for several months and hope to maintain them for up to a year.

"We know that the environment in which a community of cells finds itself has a great deal of influence on the biology underway within those cells," Kniss said. "And that biology is always translated into changes in gene expression and assemblies of proteins." That is why the three-dimensional scaffolding for cell growth in the laboratory is so important.

The researchers' focus on fat cells as a test bed for this approach to cell growth offers important medical potential. While experts once thought a persons number of fat cells was set at birth, they now know individuals can either lose existing fat cells or grow new ones. And aside from the implications for dieting and obesity, a person's population of fat cells has other vital roles.

Fat cells extract lipids, or fatty acids, from the bloodstream. They also become a huge reservoir for glucose as well, and play a role in insulins ability to effectively convert glucose into energy.

"If we could learn how to control fat formation in the body, then we could keep people leaner, lowering their chances of becoming insulin-dependent, and lowering the likelihood they would develop type II diabetes," Kniss said.

He also suggested that the new approach might have commercial applications as a way of testing new drugs. "Small, three-dimensional cell colonies could be grown on multi-well assay plates and be used to test dozens of compounds at the same time," he explained.

"Since these cells better resemble how cells function in living tissue, they would offer a better test than current two-dimensional cell colonies provide." Kniss is currently working with an Ohio company to consider research on such new assay devices.

This research was sponsored by both the National Institutes of Health and Ohio States Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

Ohio State University. "Tiny Scaffolding Allows Stem Cells To Become Working Fat Cells." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 March 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/03/050323123719.htm>.
Ohio State University. (2005, March 23). Tiny Scaffolding Allows Stem Cells To Become Working Fat Cells. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/03/050323123719.htm
Ohio State University. "Tiny Scaffolding Allows Stem Cells To Become Working Fat Cells." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/03/050323123719.htm (accessed September 20, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

AP (Sep. 19, 2014) A federal jury has convicted three people in connection with an outbreak of salmonella poisoning five years ago that sickened hundreds of people and was linked to a number of deaths. (Sept. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
How The 'Angelina Jolie Effect' Increased Cancer Screenings

How The 'Angelina Jolie Effect' Increased Cancer Screenings

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) Angelina's Jolie's decision to undergo a preventative mastectomy in 2013 inspired many women to seek early screenings for the disease. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Cost of Ebola

The Cost of Ebola

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 18, 2014) As Sierra Leone prepares for a three-day "lockdown" in its latest bid to stem the spread of Ebola, Ciara Lee looks at the financial implications of fighting the largest ever outbreak of the disease. Video provided by Reuters
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:
from the past week

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