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Repairing nerves using exosomes to hijack cell-to-cell communication.

MEDFORD, Mass., September 15, 2015 -- Transplanted stem cells can differentiate into just about any other kind of cell, including neurons to potentially reconnect a severed spinal cord and repair paralysis.

A variety of agents induce transplanted stem cells to differentiate into neurons.

Tufts University biomedical engineers recently discovered a promising new way to induce human mesenchymal stem cells (or hMSCs, which are derived from bone marrow) to differentiate into neuron-like cells: treating them with exosomes.

Exosomes are very small, hollow particles that are secreted from many types of cells.

They contain functional proteins and genetic materials and serve as a vehicle for communication between cells. In the nervous system, exosomes guide the direction of nerve growth, control nerve connection and help regenerate peripheral nerves.

In a series of experiments, the researchers showed that exosomes from PC12 cells (neuron-like progenitor cells derived from rats) at various stages of their own differentiation could, in turn, cause hMSCs to become neuron-like cells.

Exosomes had not previously been studied as a way to induce human stem cell differentiation.

The biomedical engineers also showed that the exosomes contain miRNAs-tiny pieces of RNA that regulate cell behavior and are known to play a role in neuronal differentiation. The researchers hypothesize that the exosomes caused the hMSCs to differentiate by delivering miRNA into the stem cells.

The researchers plan future studies to determine the exact mechanism.

"In combination with synthetic nanoparticles, we may ultimately be able to use these identified miRNAs or proteins to make synthetic exosomes, thereby avoiding the need to use any kind of neural progenitor cell line to induce neuron growth," said Qiaobing Xu of Tufts School of Engineering.

Citation: Yuji S. Takeda, Qiaobing Xu, "Neuronal Differentiation of Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells Using Exosomes Derived from Differentiating Neuronal Cells," PLoS ONE, 2015; 10 (8): e0135111 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0135111

Article:

http://goo.gl/HDRcMH

Contact: Qiaobing Xu, qiaobing.xu@tufts.edu

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Title Annotation:Advanced Stem Cell Technology
Publication:Stem Cell Business News
Date:Oct 5, 2015
Words:319
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