Scientists use ‘pregnancy fluid’ to strengthen weak bones
UK-based researchers have found that stem cells harvested from pregnant woman’s amniotic fluid can be used to strengthen weak bones.
Amniotic fluid is the protective fluid that surrounds baby in the uterus and helps it to develop inside the mother’s womb. It also contains stem cells that are the building blocks of other tissues.
- Bones are constantly formed in body with cells called osteoclasts which break down old bone and form new bones.
- However, incase due to brittle bone disease, osteoporosis process becomes lazy leading to fracture bones.
- The researchers collected the amniotic stem cells from material left over from screening tests during pregnancy.
- Then they injected these cells into diseased mice having fractured bones due to brittle bone disease (a genetic disorder that results in fragile bones that break easily).
- It was found that mice injected with these cells have 78% fewer fractures. Thus, the amniotic stem cells can be used to improve strength, plasticity, and structure of bones.
- Potential Application: This discovery can help treat astronauts who lose bone mass in space. It is said that astronauts can lose 2.5% of their bone density for every month in space. It can also help babies with genetic diseases and elderly people.
Categories: Science and Technology Current Affairs - 2017