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Stem Cell Research

Patient-specific stem cell lines - now a real possibility

12 years, 2 months ago

129  0
Posted on Dec 02, 2005, 4 a.m. By Bill Freeman

Mitosis in human embryonic stem (hES) cell cytoplast cybrid following fusion. A, B, C, D: Increasing appearance in background of red fluorescence [octamer binding transcription factor-4 (Oct-4)] surrounded by ring of green fluorescence [tumour rejection antigen-2-39 (TRA-2-39)], with no nucleoli being present. Blue fluorescence: DAPI, showing the chromosome location. Original magnification x40.

Mitosis in human embryonic stem (hES) cell cytoplast cybrid following fusion. A, B, C, D: Increasing appearance in background of red fluorescence [octamer binding transcription factor-4 (Oct-4)] surrounded by ring of green fluorescence [tumour rejection antigen-2-39 (TRA-2-39)], with no nucleoli being present. Blue fluorescence: DAPI, showing the chromosome location. Original magnification x40.

Immune rejection problems could affect any one of us. This unique research shows that producing individual patient cell lines for our own future needs is now something we might all want to consider.

Somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) forms the basis for obtaining patient specific stem cells and with the presence of reprogramming factors in human embryonic stem (hES) cells, a method for replacing the nuclei of hES cells by somatic cell nuclei has been widely sought.

Nick Strelchenko et al. based at the Reproductive Genetics Institute in Chicago, USA, has now developed an original technique resulting in the first evidence of the complete replacement of the nuclei of hES cells by nuclei of somatic cells. Their paper Reprogramming of human somatic cells by embryonic stem cell cytoplast is accepted and was published online by Reproductive BioMedicine Online, rbmonline.com/Article/2071 on 18 November 2005. The final article will also be published in print in the January 2006 issue of the journal.

The new technique involves the fusion of different types of somatic cells with hES cells. The resulting ‘cybrids' were shown to have the genotype of the donor somatic cells and the ‘stemness' (the ability of the cells to divide, change throughout our lifetime, to provide cells that can become specialised and to replace those that die or are lost) of the recipient hES cells.

Nuclear reprogramming of somatic cells has been performed by fusion with ES cells, (Tada et al., 1997, 2001; Cowan et al., 2005). However, the resulting hybrid cells contained the nuclei of both somatic and hES cells (Cowan et al., 2005). This was due to the fact that the hES cells were not enucleated.

A key factor in this new research is that the hES cells were enucleated prior to their cytoplasts fusing with the somatic cell nuclei (Fig 1). Cell division then resulted in the establishment of cybrid cells (Fig 2) with typical hES cell morphology and ‘stemness' shown by the presence of Oct -4 and TRA-2-39 confirming the replacement of the hES cell nuclei by the nuclei of somatic cells.

10-40 colonies were produced following 1-week culture of the resulting hybrid cells. These colonies contained cells with different karyotypes including the 46XY cybrid cells, representing a complete replacement of hES cell nuclei of donor somatic cells as well as 46,XXY and 92,XXYY cells representing hybrids between the donor and non-enucleated hES-cells. Fig 3 shows that the hES cell markers were positive in cybrid colonies which were cultured for many passages.

Whilst there still remains the problem of how to isolate the pure population of hES cell cybrid colonies and the extent to which the hES cell cybrids can be reprogrammed still needs to be determined, this research provides scientists with a new method of investigation and brings our ability to harness the therapeutic value of our own genetically identical stem cells significantly closer.

Dr Strelchenko has over 20 years' experience in the area of somatic cell genetics, including establishing embryo stem (ES)-cells, primordial germ cells, nuclear transfer technology, animal in-vitro maturation (IVM)/IVF, somatic cell hybridization, cytogenetics, and biochemistry methods. He has been an adjunct professor at the University of Wisconsin since 1996. Please cite Reproductive BioMedicine Online and www.rbmonline.com as the source of your article.

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About the REPRODUCTIVE HEALTHCARE LTD

Reproductive BioMedicine Online is an international peer-reviewed journal of biomedical and clinical research on human reproduction and the embryo. Chief Editor of RBMOnline is Professor Robert Edwards. With rapid responsible publishing on web and in print (monthly), it is aimed at researchers, clinicians, practitioners and patients. Accepted papers are published in full online within 2-4 weeks of acceptance. Abstracted and indexed on MEDLINE, EMBASE and Chemical Abstracts; visit www.rbmonline.com to see the latest publications. Published by Reproductive Healthcare Ltd., Duck End Farm, Dry Drayton, Cambridge CB3 8DB, UK. Tel. 44 1954 781812, Fax. 44 1954 781816. For further information, please contact enquiries@rbmonline.com.

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