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Engineered Pig Stem Cells Bridge The Mouse-human Gap

Date:
June 22, 2009
Source:
American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Summary:
Researchers have created a line of embryonic-like stem cells from adult pigs. As pigs are large animals with a physiology very similar to humans, this work provides a valuable model to study the clinical potential of this new "induced pluripotent stem cell" technology.

The discovery that adult skin cells can be 'reprogrammed' to behave like stem cells has been a major scientific boon, providing a way to tap the potential of embryonic stem cells without the associated ethical quandaries. Researchers have now created a line of such reprogrammed stem cells from adult pigs. As pigs are large animals with a physiology very similar to humans, this work provides a valuable model to study the therapeutic potential of this new "induced pluripotent stem cell" (iPS) technology.

iPS cells have already been developed from both mice and humans. Both systems will help researchers answer many biological and genetic questions about these cells, but still leave a gap before clinical applications can begin. These iPS cells cannot be tested on humans before thorough safety and efficacy trials in animal models, but the size, physiology and short lifespan of mice makes them less than ideal for these trials.

Duanqing Pei and colleagues turned to a better pre-clinical model: pigs. These large animals share a remarkably similar biology to humans, as evidenced by their already extensive contributions to medicine, such as using pig insulin to treat diabetes or pig heart valves in transplant surgery. The research group modified the current iPS protocols to successfully generate a line of stem cells from a miniature Tibetan pig (whose smaller size would make breeding and maintenance easier). A biochemical analysis revealed these cells expressed the key proteins that would classify them as 'stem cells' and had the ability to differentiate into many other types of cells.

Importantly, these pig iPS cells more closely resembled human stem cells than other animals, confirming their value in pre-clinical studies. The researchers believe porcine iPS technology is an emerging and exciting field that should progress quickly and lead to many applications.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Miguel Angel Esteban, Jianyong Xu, Jiayin Yang, Meixiu Peng, Dajiang Qin, Wen Li, Zhuoxin Jiang, Jiekai Chen, Kang Deng, Mei Zhong, Jinglei Cai, Liangxue Lai and Duanqing Pei. Generation of induced pluripotent stem cell lines from tibetan miniature pig. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 2009; DOI: 10.1074/jbc.M109.008938

Cite This Page:

American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. "Engineered Pig Stem Cells Bridge The Mouse-human Gap." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 June 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090604095125.htm>.
American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. (2009, June 22). Engineered Pig Stem Cells Bridge The Mouse-human Gap. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090604095125.htm
American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. "Engineered Pig Stem Cells Bridge The Mouse-human Gap." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090604095125.htm (accessed April 18, 2014).

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