Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Lab-made skin cells will aid transplantation, cancer, drug discovery research, say scientists

Date:
October 26, 2011
Source:
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Summary:
Researchers have found a way to create melanocytes from mouse tail cells using embryonic stem cell-like intermediates called inducible pluripotent (iPS) cells. They converted mouse tail-tip fibroblasts into iPS cells, producing pluripotent cells similar to embryonic stem cells, but without the concomitant ethical issues.

Pigmented melanocytes derived from induced pluripotent stem cells.
Credit: Xiaowei Xu, MD, PhD, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania

The pigmented cells called melanocytes aren't just for making freckles and tans. Melanocytes absorb ultraviolet light, protecting the skin from the harmful effects of the sun. They also are the cells that go haywire in melanoma, as well as in more common conditions as vitiligo and albinism.

Naturally, researchers would love to study melanocytes in the laboratory. There's just one problem -- melanocytes from adult skin don't grow very well in the lab. Now, researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania have found a way to create melanocytes from mouse tail cells using embryonic stem cell-like intermediates called inducible pluripotent (iPS) cells.

Xiaowei Xu, MD, PhD, associate professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, is senior author the study, which appears online in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology ahead of the December print issue. Xu and his team converted mouse tail-tip fibroblasts into iPS cells using four genes, which were first described by Shinya Yamanaka in 2006, producing pluripotent cells similar to embryonic stem cells, but without the concomitant ethical issues.

According to Xu, these lab-made melanocytes promise benefits in areas from tissue transplantation to drug discovery. "This method really has lots of clinical implications," says Xu. "We are not quite there yet, but this is an early step."

For example, by collecting a tissue sample from patients with, say, vitiligo, and converting it to iPS cells, researchers can study what goes wrong as those cells differentiate into melanocytes. Or, they can study the development and possible treatment of melanoma.

Xu's new study is the first to report creating melanocytes from iPS cells in mice, and builds on his previous work. Xu's lab was involved in the first study to work out the conditions for differentiating human embryonic stem cells to melanocytes in 2006. Earlier this year, a Japanese team became the first to differentiate human iPS cells to melanocytes.

Transformation of Cells

Initially, the researchers from Xu's lab introduced the four Yamanaka genes into mouse cells by infecting the cells with transgenic viruses. Between 0.5% to 0.8% of fibroblasts treated in this way converted to iPS cells in Xu's lab -- a rate that is consistent with other researchers' findings, he says. But his team also could achieve the same result (albeit at lower efficiency, 0.01%) using a non-viral "transposon" called piggyBac. Finally, the researchers showed they could differentiate both iPS cell populations into melanocytes in about two weeks by feeding the cells a defined cocktail of growth factors.

According to Xu, the growth factor cocktail used in the present study differs somewhat from the formulation his lab worked out several years ago for human embryonic stem cells. Among other things, it works in the absence of the growth factor Wnt3a and the carcinogen TPA, both of which are required for human melanocyte differentiation. TPA, especially, could be problematic for possible cell-based therapies, in that it is tumorigenic. It remains to be seen, however, whether human iPS cells can also be differentiated in the absence of this compound, Xu notes.

His study's implementation of piggyBac in creating the iPS cells (a technique first published by Canadian researchers in 2009) could possibly extend the technique's clinical value, he adds. Unlike viruses, which insert their genetic cargo into the host genome, thereby raising concerns of genetic alterations in the infected cells, piggyBac delivers genes without permanently altering the host genome.

Other authors include Penn researchers Ruifeng Yang, Min Jiang, Suresh Kumar, and Ted Xu, as well as Fei Wang of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and Leihong Xiang of Fudan University, Shanghai.

The study was funded by the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Ruifeng Yang, Min Jiang, Suresh M Kumar, Theodore Xu, Fei Wang, Leihong Xiang, Xiaowei Xu. Generation of Melanocytes from Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells. Journal of Investigative Dermatology, 2011; DOI: 10.1038/jid.2011.242

Cite This Page:

University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. "Lab-made skin cells will aid transplantation, cancer, drug discovery research, say scientists." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 October 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111026122435.htm>.
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. (2011, October 26). Lab-made skin cells will aid transplantation, cancer, drug discovery research, say scientists. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111026122435.htm
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. "Lab-made skin cells will aid transplantation, cancer, drug discovery research, say scientists." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111026122435.htm (accessed August 20, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Freetown a City on Edge

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Freetown a City on Edge

AFP (Aug. 19, 2014) — Residents of Sierra Leone's capital voice their fears as the Ebola virus sweeps through west Africa. Duration: 00:56 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
101-Year-Old Working Man Has All The Advice You Need

101-Year-Old Working Man Has All The Advice You Need

Newsy (Aug. 19, 2014) — Herman Goldman has worked at the same lighting store for almost 75 years. Find out his secrets to a happy, productive life. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

AP (Aug. 19, 2014) — Four Texas high school football programs are trying out an experimental system designed to diagnose concussions on the field. The technology is in response to growing concern over head trauma in America's most watched sport. (Aug. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
American Ebola Patient Apparently Improving, Outbreak Is Not

American Ebola Patient Apparently Improving, Outbreak Is Not

Newsy (Aug. 19, 2014) — Nancy Writebol, an American missionary who contracted Ebola, is apparently getting better, according to her husband. The outbreak, however, is not. 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:
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