Study Finds Adult Stem Cells, Not Embryonic, Best Suited for Repairing Muscle
by Steven Ertelt
June 26, 2009
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — A new study involving researchers from Maryland and Indiana finds that adult stem cells, not embryonic, are best suited for damaged and diseased muscle. The new research, published in the medial journal Nature, involved experiments in mice.
The scientists found the genes involved in muscle development are turned off soon after birth, and are not used by adult stem cells that repair muscle.
The researchers, at the Carnegie Institutes Department of Embryology in Baltimore, learned that a different set of genes active in adult muscle stem cells take over to repair muscle damage.
This suggests that adult stem cells are best suited for repairing muscle in muscular dystrophy and other muscle injuries.
Lead author Christoph Lepper said I thought that if they are so important in the embryo, they must be important for adult muscle stem cells. I was totally surprised to find that the muscle stem cells are normal without them.
"Our discovery should encourage future investigations into how widespread genetic transitions may occur in different adult stem-cell types. Age-dependent differences in stem-cell properties should also urge careful consideration of the age of stem cells used in transplantation-based regenerative medicine," the authors added.
Dr. David Prentice, a former biology professor at Indiana State University who now is a research fellow at the Family Research Council, emailed comments to LifeNews.com responding to the study.
"The implications? Studying embryonic stem cells is an inadequate substitute for directly studying how adult stem cells carry out their normal repair functions in the body, and embryonic stem cells themselves are inadequate substitutes for adult stem cells in medical therapies," he explained.
"In other words, don’t use a sledgehammer instead of precision equipment," he said.
Matt Mohler of Citizens for Science and Ethics, also commented on the new study.
"These findings strengthen the argument that scientists should continue to focus their resources on adult stem cell research," he said.
Related web sites:
Citizens for Science and Ethics – https://www.stemcellcures.org
Family Research Council – https://www.frc.org
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