Tag Archives: Biotechnology

Wisdom Teeth Contain Reservoir of Tissue for Creation of Stem Cells

For most people, wisdom teeth are not much more than an annoyance that eventually needs to be removed. However, a new study shows that wisdom teeth contain a valuable reservoir of tissue for the creation of stem cells; thus, everyone might be carrying around his or her own personal stem-cell repository should he or she ever need some

Groundbreaking research back in 2006 revealed that inducing the activity of four genes in adult cells could “reprogram” them back into a stem-cell-like state; biologically, these induced-pluripotent stem cells are virtually identical to embryonic stem cells, opening up a new potential avenue for stem-cell therapy whereby patients could be treated with their own stem cells.

However, despite their promise, making iPS cells is not easy; the reprogramming efficiencies are very low and vary among the cells that can be used for iPS generation and thus require good amount of “starter” cells – which might involve difficult extraction from body tissue (unfortunately skin cells, the easiest to acquire, show very low reprogramming efficiency).

Now, a team of scientists at Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology may have found an ideal source: third molars, commonly known as wisdom teeth.

The soft pulp inside of teeth contains a population of cells known as mesenchymal stromal cells that are similar to cells found in bone marrow, a common stem-cell source. However, unlike bone marrow, tooth pulp is more easily obtained, especially in wisdom teeth, which most individuals have removed anyway.

The researchers, led by Hajime Ohgushi, collected tooth samples from three donors and managed to generate a series of iPS cell lines following the similar procedure of activating three key genes (however, in another beneficial change they did not have activate the c-MYC gene which might lead the cells to become cancerous).

The different cell lines displayed varying degrees of robustness but in some cases proliferated quite well, up to 100 times more efficiently than typical skin-cell-derived iPS cells. The molar-derived cells also could differentiate into many other cell types including beating cardiomyocytes (see an attached movie), as expected.

The presence of a supply of MSCs in wisdom teeth could have meaningful therapeutic ramifications. As noted by the researchers and others, wisdom tooth extraction is a common medical procedure in developed nations and, thus, creates a perfect opportunity to remove biological material in a sterilized setting; the teeth subsequently can be frozen and stored for many years until needed. In the meantime, that also provides time for researchers to better understand the details of iPS creation to further increase the efficiency for clinical use.

You may click to see :Extracted wisdom teeth could be new stem cell reservoirs

World News on Wisdom teeth & new stem cell

Source :Elements4Health

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5 Mind-Blowing Benefits of Exercise

U.S. News & World Report reveals five ways that exercise can enhance your brainpower and mood:

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1.It reverses the detrimental effects of stress. Exercise boosts levels of soothing brain chemicals like serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. Exercise may actually work on a cellular level to reverse stress’s toll on your aging process.

2.It lifts depression. Sustained, sweat-inducing activity can reduce symptoms of depression about as effectively as antidepressants.

3.It improves learning. Exercise increases the level of brain chemicals called growth factors that help make new brain cells.

4.It builds self-esteem and improves body image. Even simply seeing fitness improvements, like running a faster mile or lifting more weight, can improve your self-esteem and body image.

5.It leaves you feeling euphoric. High-intensity exercise can leave you with a feeling of euphoria. Try running, biking, or swimming as fast as you can for 30 to 40 seconds and then reduce your speed to a gentle pace for five minutes before sprinting again.

Further, a new study by researchers at Northwestern University‘s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago have revealed impressive insights into why exercise is so good for your brain. In short, it appears that exercise lowers the activity of bone-morphogenetic protein or BMP, which slows the production of new brain cells.

At the same time, exercise increases Noggin, a brain protein that acts as a BMP antagonist.

According to NYTimes.com:

“The more Noggin in your brain, the less BMP activity exists and the more stem cell divisions and neurogenesis [production of new brain cells] you experience.”

Resources:
U.S. News & World Report June 30, 2010
NYTimes.com July 7, 2010

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Keep Firm Muscle Tone with the Age

Scientists have found and manipulated body chemistry linked to the aging of muscles, and were able to restore the ability of old human muscle to repair and rebuild itself.
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Importantly, the research also found evidence that aging muscles need to be kept in shape, because long periods of atrophy are more challenging to overcome. Older muscles do not respond as well to sudden bouts of exercise. And rather than building muscle, older people can instead generate scar tissue if they exercise after long periods of inactivity.

Previous studies have shown that adult muscle stem cells have a receptor called Notch, which triggers growth when activated. An enzyme called mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) regulates Notch activity.

In the lab, the researchers cultured old human muscle and forced the activation of MAPK. The regenerative ability of the old muscle was significantly enhanced.

Resources:
Live Science September 30, 2009
EMBO Molecular Medicine September 30, 2009 [Epub ahead of Print]

Amniocentesis

Definition:
Amniocentesis (also referred to as amniotic fluid test or AFT), is a medical procedure used in prenatal diagnosis of chromosomal abnormalities and fetal infections, in which a small amount of amniotic fluid, which contains fetal tissues, is extracted from the amnion or amniotic sac surrounding a developing fetus, and the fetal DNA is examined for genetic abnormalities
Tests of fetal cells found in this fluid can reveal the presence of Down syndrome or other chromosome problems in the baby. Amniocentesis can also show whether the lungs of the baby are mature enough to allow it to survive if it were elivered right away.

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Amniocentesis is often recommended for pregnant women over age 35, women who have an abnormal “triple screen” blood test during pregnancy, or women who have (or whose husbands have) a family history of certain diseases or birth defects.

How do you prepare for the test?

You should have a serious discussion with your obstetrician regarding whether to have amniocentesis. Amniocentesis may be done anytime between the 14th and 20th weeks of pregnancy to test for fetal abnormalities. To check on fetal lung development, the test may be done late in the third trimester.

Tell your doctor ahead of time if you have ever had an allergic reaction to lidocaine or the numbing medicine used at the dentist’s office.

Just before the test, you should empty your bladder.

How the test is performed ?
Before the actual procedure, a local anesthetic is sometimes given to relieve the pain when inserting the needle used to withdraw the fluid. A needle is usually inserted through the mother’s abdominal wall through the wall of the uterus into the amniotic sac. With the aid of ultrasound-guidance, a physician aims towards an area of the sac that is away from the fetus and extracts approximately 20ml of amniotic fluid for testing. The puncture heals, and the amniotic sac replenishes the liquid over a day or so. After the amniotic fluid is extracted, the fetal cells are separated from it. The cells are grown in a culture medium, then fixed and stained. Under a microscope the chromosomes are examined for abnormalities. The most common abnormalities detected are Down syndrome, Edward syndrome [Trisomy 18] and Turner syndrome [Monosomy X]. Amniocentesis is most safely performed after the 14th-16th week of pregnancy, does not need to be done before then due to risk it can to to the babys limbs. Usually genetic counseling is offered prior to amniocentesis.

What happens when the test is performed?
You wear a hospital gown and lie on your back on a table. An ultrasound is done to show the location of the fetus and placenta. Your lower abdomen is cleaned with an antibacterial soap. In some cases, the doctor uses a small needle to inject a numbing medicine just under the skin, so you do not feel the amniocentesis sampling needle later. (Because the sampling needle does not cause much more stinging than the numbing medicine itself, not every doctor includes this step.)

The hollow sampling needle is several inches long and is inserted through the skin and abdominal muscle and then through the wall of the uterus. A syringe attached to the needle is used to collect a sample of fluid.

The baby’s heart tones and the mother’s blood pressure and heart rate are checked at the beginning and end of the procedure. The whole procedure takes close to 30 minutes.

Risk Factors:
Although the procedure is routine, possible complications include infection of the amniotic sac from the needle, and failure of the puncture to heal properly, which can result in leakage or infection. Serious complications can result in miscarriage. Other possible complications include preterm labor and delivery, respiratory distress, postural deformities, fetal trauma and alloimmunisation (rhesus disease). Studies from the 1970s originally estimated the risk of amniocentesis-related miscarriage at around 1 in 200 (0.5%). A more recent study (2006) has indicated this may actually be much lower, perhaps as low as 1 in 1,600 (0.06%). In contrast, the risk of miscarriage from chorionic villus sampling (CVS) is believed to be approximately 1 in 100, although CVS may be done up to four weeks earlier, and may be preferable if the possibility of genetic defects is thought to be higher

Most women experience a few hours of mild pelvic cramping, and a few will have slight vaginal bleeding. About 1 in 100 women will have a temporary leak of amniotic fluid through the vagina; this usually causes no problem.

There is a small risk of miscarriage associated with amniocentesis; this occurs in about 1 in every 200 to 400 cases, depending in part on the timing of the test and the experience level of the physician performing it. Other risks (such as infection or injury to the fetus that does not cause miscarriage) are extremely rare.

What must you do after the test is over?
If the test confirms that you are Rh incompatible with the fetus, you will need to receive an injection of a medicine called Rh immune globulin (Rhogam) to protect the baby from complications.

Let your doctor know immediately if you are having any vaginal bleeding, fluid leakage, or strong abdominal pain.

Time to know the result:
Chromosome analysis of the fluid sample takes two weeks or more. The results of some tests may be available sooner.

Amniocentesis and stem cells:
Recent studies discovered that in amniotic fluid there are a lot of multipotent stem cell, mesenchymal, hematopoietic, neural,epithelial and endothelial stem cell[1][2][3]. Amniotic stem cells don’t have ethical problem. In fact, in harvesting embryonic stem cells, a human embryo is destroyed, and so it’s considered it immoral. Another potential benefit of using amniotic stem cells over those obtained from embryos is that they side-step ethical concerns among pro-life activists by obtaining pluripotent lines of undifferentiated cells without harm to a fetus or destruction of an embryo.

Artificial heart valves, working tracheas, as well as muscle, fat, bone, heart, neural and liver cells have all been engineered through use of amniotic stem cells [4]. Tissues obtained from amniotic cell lines show enormous promise for patients suffering from congenital diseases/malformations of the heart, liver, lungs, kidneys, and cerebral tissue

You may click to see:->HOW TO – Isolate amniotic stem cells from a placenta, at home

Resources:
https://www.health.harvard.edu/fhg/diagnostics/amniosentesis.shtml
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amniocentesis

http://healthlibrary.epnet.com/GetContent.aspx?token=7e9094f4-c284-4b3a-8f7c-867fd12b36ee&chunkiid=14762

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A Possible Cure for Diabetes Ignored by Big Pharma

Twelve years ago, Professor Irving Weissman discovered a treatment that could have saved the lives of thousands of women with advanced breast cancer. Pharmaceutical companies weren’t interested in developing the therapy at the time.

Though interest in his methods are finally being ignited, Weissman regrets the wasted time. In a set of lectures, Weissman repeatedly expressed frustration that while many of his discoveries in the field of stem cell research seemed to hold remarkable potential for life-saving treatments, commercial or regulatory hurdles have prevented his scientific findings from benefiting patients.

One example is Weissman’s research on type I diabetes, in which he demonstrated the ability to fully cure type I diabetes in mice using stem cells. But even though his experiments avoided political controversy by using adult stem cells, which do not come from embryos, Weissman ran into a road block when pharmaceutical companies refused to sponsor clinical trials.

Weissman believes that the pharmaceutical companies put profit over principle, preferring to keep diabetes sufferers dependent on costly insulin than to cure them once and for all.

Sources: Columbia Spectator January 23, 2009

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