Putnam Valley, NY. (Sept. 17 2013) Vaginal delivery presents the possibility of injury for mothers that can lead to "stress urinary incontinence" (SUI), a condition affecting from four to 35 percent of women who have had babies via vaginal delivery. Many current treatments, such as physiotherapy and surgery, are not very effective.
Seeking better methods to alleviate SUI, researchers carried out a study in which female laboratory rats modeled with simulated childbirth injuries received injections of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs; multipotent cells found in connective tissues that can differentiate into a variety of cell types including: bone, cartilage and fat cells) to see if the cells would home to and help to repair the damaged pelvic organs.
The study appears as an early e-publication for the journal Cell Transplantation, and is now freely available on-line at http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/cog/ct/pre-prints/content-cog_09636897_ct0957dissaranan.
"Stem cell-based therapy has recently gained attention as a promising treatment for SUI," said study co-author Dr. Margot S. Damaser of the Cleveland Clinic's Department of Biomedical Engineering. "Stem cell therapies may be more feasible and less invasive than current therapies."
The current study extended the results of the researcher's previous studies by demonstrating that the transplanted MSCs homed to the animals' spleens. This suggested that the transplanted cells could have a beneficial impact when they released trophic factors, agents that stimulate differentiation and survival of cells and then engrafted into the smooth muscle of the urethra and vagina, as demonstrated previously in prior studies.
"Our results suggest a potential therapy for postpartum SUI," said Dr. Damaser.
The group of female rats that received simulated childbirth injury
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Cell Transplantation Center of Excellence for Aging and Brain Repair