Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Scientists grow new lungs using 'skeletons' of old ones

Date:
June 28, 2010
Source:
University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston
Summary:
Tissue engineers' progress toward growing new lungs for transplantation or research has long been frustrated by the problem of coaxing stem cells to develop into the varied cell types that populate different locations in the lung. Now, researchers have found a possible solution by seeding mouse embryonic stem cells into "acellular" rat lungs -- organs whose original cells have been destroyed, leaving behind empty, lung-shaped scaffolds of structural proteins.

Research shows that growing new lungs may be possible by seeding embryonic stem cells into "acellular" lungs -- organs whose original cells have been destroyed, leaving behind empty, lung-shaped scaffolds of structural proteins.
Credit: iStockphoto/Sebastian Kaulitzki

For someone with a severe, incurable lung disorder such as cystic fibrosis or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, a lung transplant may be the only chance for survival. Unfortunately, it's often not a very good chance. Matching donor lungs are rare, and many would-be recipients die waiting for the transplants that could save their lives.

Such deaths could be prevented if it were possible to use stem cells to grow new lungs or lung tissue. Specialists in the emerging field of tissue engineering have been hard at work on this for years. But they've been frustrated by the problem of coaxing undifferentiated stem cells to develop into the specific cell types that populate different locations in the lung.

Now, researchers from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston have demonstrated a potentially revolutionary solution to this problem. As they describe in an article published electronically ahead of print by the journal Tissue Engineering Part A, they seeded mouse embryonic stem cells into "acellular" rat lungs -- organs whose original cells had been destroyed by repeated cycles of freezing and thawing and exposure to detergent.

The result: empty lung-shaped scaffolds of structural proteins on which the mouse stem cells thrived and differentiated into new cells appropriate to their specific locations.

"In terms of different cell types, the lung is probably the most complex of all organs -- the cells near the entrance are very different from those deep in the lung," said Dr. Joaquin Cortiella, one of the article's lead authors. "Our natural matrix generated the same pattern, with tracheal cells only in the trachea, alveoli-like cells in the alveoli, pneumocytes only in the distal lung, and definite transition zones between the bronchi and the alveoli."

Such "site-specific" cell development has never been seen before in a natural matrix, said professor Joan Nichols, another of the paper's lead authors. The complexity gives the researchers hope that the concept could be scaled up to produce replacement tissues for humans -- or used to create models to test therapies and diagnostic techniques for a variety of lung diseases.

"If we can make a good lung for people, we can also make a good model for injury," Nichols said. "We can create a fibrotic lung, or an emphysematous lung, and evaluate what's happening with those, what the cells are doing, how well stem cell or other therapy works. We can see what happens in pneumonia, or what happens when you've got a hemorrhagic fever, or tuberculosis, or hantavirus -- all the agents that target the lung and cause damage in the lung."

The researchers have already begun work on large-scale experiments, "decellularizing" pig lungs with an eye toward using them to produce larger samples of lung tissue that could lead to applications in humans. They're also taking on the challenge of vascularization -- stimulating the growth of blood vessels that will enable the engineered tissues to survive outside the special bioreactors that the researchers now use to keep them alive by bathing them in a life-sustaining cocktail of nutrients and oxygen.

"People ask us why we're doing the lung, because it's so hard," Cortiella said. "But the potential is so great, and the technology is here. It's going to take time, but I think we're going to create a system that works."

Other authors of the Tissue Engineering Part A paper are UTMB research associate Jean Niles, associate professor Gracie Vargas, medical student Sean Winston, graduate student Shannon Walls, summer research fellows Andrea Brettler and Jennifer Wang, Andrea Cantu of Stanford University and Dr. Anthony Pham of Brown Medical School.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Joaquin Cortiella, Jean Niles, Andrea Cantu, Andrea Brettler, Anthony Pham, Gracie Vargas, Sean Winston, Jennifer Wang, Shannon Walls, Joan E. Nichols. Influence of Acellular Natural Lung Matrix on Murine Embryonic Stem Cell Differentiation and Tissue Formation. Tissue Engineering Part A, 2010; 100621062342080 DOI: 10.1089/ten.tea.2009.0730

Cite This Page:

University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. "Scientists grow new lungs using 'skeletons' of old ones." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 June 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100624092522.htm>.
University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. (2010, June 28). Scientists grow new lungs using 'skeletons' of old ones. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100624092522.htm
University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. "Scientists grow new lungs using 'skeletons' of old ones." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100624092522.htm (accessed September 30, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How 'Yes Means Yes' Defines Sexual Assault

How 'Yes Means Yes' Defines Sexual Assault

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) Aimed at reducing sexual assaults on college campuses, California has adopted a new law changing the standard of consent for sexual activity. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists May Have Found An Early Sign Of Pancreatic Cancer

Scientists May Have Found An Early Sign Of Pancreatic Cancer

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) Researchers looked at 1,500 blood samples and determined people who developed pancreatic cancer had more branched chain amino acids. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Colo. Doctors See Cluster of Enterovirus Cases

Colo. Doctors See Cluster of Enterovirus Cases

AP (Sep. 29, 2014) Doctors at the Children's Hospital of Colorado say they have treated over 4,000 children with serious respiratory illnesses since August. Nine of the patients have shown distinct neurological symptoms, including limb weakness. (Sept. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dr.'s Unsure of Cause of Fast-Spreading Virus

Dr.'s Unsure of Cause of Fast-Spreading Virus

AP (Sep. 29, 2014) Doctors at the Children's Hospital of Colorado say they have treated over 4,000 children with serious respiratory illnesses since August. Nine of the patients have shown distinct neurological symptoms, including limb weakness. (Sept. 29) 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