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BU researchers derive purified lung and thyroid progenitors from embryonic stem cells
Date:4/5/2012

cell and these progenitors could be purified using the fluorescent tag that glowed only once the cells had become lung or thyroid cells.

"We succeeded in capturing a cell fate decision in cultured stem cells that is normally very transient during the earliest stages of lung and thyroid development," said Kotton, who also is an associate professor of medicine at BUSM. "Most importantly, our results emphasize that the precise inhibition of certain pathways at defined stages is as important as the addition of pathway stimulators at different developmental stages during lung and thyroid specification."

To demonstrate that the cells purified by the investigators were lung progenitors, Kotton's team studied the global gene expression profiles of the cells they derived and placed the cells into a three-dimensional lung scaffold. The cells grew and multiplied, forming two types of lung cells that normally coat the air sacs of the lungs.

The findings indicate that this technology can be used to grow new primordial lung progenitors to study human disease in vitro, which could lead to novel therapies to treat patients with end stage lung disease, such as emphysema and Cystic Fibrosis.

"The ability to generate a supply of progenitor cells with the potential to differentiate into lung cells will be a huge boon to several research fields," said James Kiley, PhD, director of the Division of Lung Diseases at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), which funded the study. "It lays the groundwork for studying the mechanisms and programming of cells during lung development, which, in turn, will help develop new treatments."


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Contact: Jenny Eriksen
jenny.eriksen@bmc.org
617-638-6841
Boston University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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