Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Biomaterials get stem cells to commit to bony future

Date:
January 6, 2014
Source:
University of California, San Diego
Summary:
With the help of biomimetic matrices, a research team led by bioengineers has discovered exactly how calcium phosphate can coax stem cells to become bone-building cells.

Image of three human mesenchymal stem cells. The ATP in the cells is glowing green. The phosphate from the biomaterial (calcium phosphate) that is taken up by the cells is used to make more ATP, which is traditionally the source of energy for the cells. In this case, however, ATP can be converted to adenosine which promotes the human mesenchymal stem cells to be turned into bone cells. This image illustrates some of the work pursued by an international team of researchers led by bioengineers at the University of California, San Diego. The researchers discovered exactly how calcium phosphate can coax stem cells to become bone-building cells. This work is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences the week of Jan. 6, 2014.
Credit: UC San Diego Department of Bioengineering

With the help of biomimetic matrices, a research team led by bioengineers at the University of California, San Diego has discovered exactly how calcium phosphate can coax stem cells to become bone-building cells. This work is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences the week of Jan. 6, 2014.

UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering professor Shyni Varghese and colleagues have traced a surprising pathway from these biomaterials to bone formation. Their findings will help them refine the design of biomaterials that encourage stem cells to give rise to new bone. The researchers say their study may also point out new targets for treating bone defects and bone metabolic disorders such as major fractures and osteoporosis.

The materials are built to mimic the body's own cellular niches, in which undifferentiated or "blank-slate" stem cells from bone marrow transform into specific bone-forming cells. "We knew for years that calcium phosphate-based materials promote osteogenic differentiation of stem cells, but none of us knew why," Varghese said.

"As engineers, we want to build something that is reproducible and consistent," she explained, "so we need to know how building factors contribute to this end."

The researchers found that when phosphate ions gradually dissolve from these materials, they are taken up by the stem cells and used for the production of ATP, a key metabolic molecule. An ATP metabolic product called adenosine then signals the stem cells to commit to becoming bone-forming cells.

Varghese said it was a surprise to her team that "the biomaterials were connected to metabolic pathways. And we didn't know how these metabolic pathways could influence stem cells' commitment to bone formation."

While the PNAS findings only apply to bone building, Varghese and her students at UC San Diego are working on a variety of projects to understand how stem cells thrive and differentiate into a variety of cell types. With this information, they hope to design biomaterials that can be used to help transform stem cells into tissues that may someday replace diseased or degenerated bone, muscle, or blood vessels.

Stem cell research may seem like an unusual endeavor for engineers, but tissue construction and the development of biomaterials have become one more type of "building" in the engineering repertoire, Varghese said.

"But to me, what we do is use engineering principles to solve a biological problem, and by integrating many research disciplines from molecular biology to engineering to medicine," she added.

The first author of the PNAS paper, Yu-Ru V. Shih, is a postdoctoral fellow in Varghese's research group, the Bio-inspired Materials and Stem Cell Engineering Group. He came to UC San Diego as part of the UST-UCSD International Center of Excellence in Advanced Bioengineering, sponsored by the Taiwan National Science Council I-RiCE Program. This initiative by the Institute of Engineering in Medicine (IEM) at UC San Diego is directed by UC San Diego bioengineering professor Shu Chien. During the course of this study, Shih collaborated with Chien and Oscar K. Lee of the department of orthopedics and traumatology at Taipei Veterans General Hospital.

"This research is a testimony to how international collaborations could provide unique opportunities to young researchers to tackle interdisciplinary questions relevant to medical sciences," Varghese said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California, San Diego. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Y.-R. V. Shih, Y. Hwang, A. Phadke, H. Kang, N. S. Hwang, E. J. Caro, S. Nguyen, M. Siu, E. A. Theodorakis, N. C. Gianneschi, K. S. Vecchio, S. Chien, O. K. Lee, S. Varghese. Calcium phosphate-bearing matrices induce osteogenic differentiation of stem cells through adenosine signaling. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2014; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1321717111

Cite This Page:

University of California, San Diego. "Biomaterials get stem cells to commit to bony future." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 January 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140106190052.htm>.
University of California, San Diego. (2014, January 6). Biomaterials get stem cells to commit to bony future. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140106190052.htm
University of California, San Diego. "Biomaterials get stem cells to commit to bony future." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140106190052.htm (accessed August 28, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) State health officials say testing has confirmed the presence of a killer amoeba in a water system serving three St. John the Baptist Parish towns. (Aug. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Who Could Be Burnt by WHO's E-Cigs Move?

Who Could Be Burnt by WHO's E-Cigs Move?

Reuters - Business Video Online (Aug. 28, 2014) The World Health Organisation has called for the regulation of electronic cigarettes as both tobacco and medical products. Ciara Lee looks at the impact of the move on the tobacco industry. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
CDC Director On Ebola Outbreak: 'It's Worse Than I Feared'

CDC Director On Ebola Outbreak: 'It's Worse Than I Feared'

Newsy (Aug. 28, 2014) CDC director Tom Frieden says the Ebola outbreak is even worse than he feared. But he also said there's still hope to contain it. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How A 'Rule Of Thumb' Could Slow Down Drinking

How A 'Rule Of Thumb' Could Slow Down Drinking

Newsy (Aug. 28, 2014) A study suggests people who follow a "rule of thumb" when pouring wine dispense less than those who don't have a particular amount in mind. 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