(WASHINGTON, March 31, 2009) - For the first time, scientists have shown that amniotic fluid (the protective liquid surrounding an embryo) may be a potential new source of stem cells for therapeutic applications. The study was prepublished online on February 12, 2009, in Blood, the official journal of the American Society of Hematology.
"Building on observations made by other scientists, our research team wondered whether stem cells could be detected in amniotic fluid. We looked at the capacity of these cells to form new blood cells both inside and outside the body, and also compared their characteristics to other well-known sources of stem cells," said senior study author Marina Cavazzana-Calvo, MD, PhD, of INSERM, the national French institute for health and biomedical research. Isabelle Andr-Schmutz, PhD, of INSERM, also a senior author of the study, added, "The answer was a resounding 'yes' the cells we isolated from the amniotic fluid are a new source of stem cells that may potentially be used to treat a variety of human diseases."
To conduct the study, amniotic fluid was collected from pregnant mice between 9.5 and 19.5 days post-coitus. Human amniotic fluid was collected during routine diagnostic procedures (amniocentesis) from volunteer donors between seven and 35 weeks of pregnancy.
Amniotic fluid (AF) cells that had markers similar to bone marrow stem cells (termed AFKL cells) were then isolated for use in experiments, as these cell markers were indicative of progenitor cells (cells that have the capacity to differentiate into other types of cells).
In vitro, AFKL cells from both mice and humans were able to generate all blood cell lineages, including red (erythroid) blood cells and white (myeloid and lymphoid) blood cells in experiments performed outside the animals. But the scientists also wanted to explore the AFKL cells' hematopoietic (blood-forming) potential in vivo. Therefore, adult mice were irradiat
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American Society of Hematology