Scientist engineer “Functional” blood vessels in mice made from stem cells

Scientists from Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, and Harvard Stem Institute, Harvard University have been able to engineer “stable and functional” blood vessels in mice using induced Pluripotent Stem (iPS) cells taken from skin of healthy people and those with Type I diabetes. The blood vessels lasted for 280 days in the brain of the mice.

How was the functional blood vessel created?

Scientist used induced Pluripotent Stem (iPS) cells taken from skin of healthy people and those with Type I diabetes. These cells produced vascular precursor cells — endothelial precursor cells and mesenchymal precursor cells from iPS cells. While endothelial cells form the inner lining of blood vessels, mesenchymal cells provide structural stability. Then they were grown in a dish in a medium which provided the nutriments and suitable environment. After the cells attained a certain optimum growth stage forming an “engineered construct”, it was then transferred onto the brain and dorsal skin of the mice and visualized with a microscope. It was also subcutaneously injected into the backs of the animals. The mice with subcutaneously injected construct were sacrificed (killed) after two weeks. Even within this short period, it had formed blood vessels and connected with the animals’ vessels. The presence of mouse RBCs in the engineered vessels is proof that blood had flowed through them.

How would it help in future?

This work is proof of concept demonstration that vascular precursor cells — endothelial precursor cells and mesenchymal precursor cells from iPS cells — can be used to engineer blood vessel. This study holds great promise to restore blood flow, especially in the case of Type II diabetic patients with ischemia in the foot.

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Categories: International Current Affairs 2017Science and Technology Current Affairs - 2017

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