Other researchers have reported similar findings over the last couple of years, however, microvesicles have been known about for over 40 years and have often been considered irrelevant.
Aliotta adds, "We are now recognizing the relevance of microvesicles: They are important mediators of cell-to-cell communication. What is unique to our research is the finding that microvesicles not only supply information to stem cells with lung injury, but this process also occurs in other organs as well, like the heart, liver and brain."
The researchers report unique findings, noting that the change in those stem cells that have consumed microvesicles made by injured lung cells is very stable the change appears to be permanent. Stem cells are reprogrammed due to the transfer of microvesicle-based transcription factors. These factors cause cells to behave atypically. As Aliotta says, "This would be relevant to any type of disease if you want to repair damaged tissue, these microvesicles potentially provide a durable fix, and the hope is that it would be fixed forever."
The study is part of ongoing stem cell research at Rhode Island Hospital under the direction of Peter Quesenberry, MD, director of hematology/oncology at Rhode Island Hospital, who is a co-author on the paper. He is the principal investigator for a recent $11 million Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) grant to Rhode Island Hospital from the National Center for Research Resources of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Quesenberry says, "We believe this research presents a novel finding in the understanding of stem cells and signifies practical implications for the world of medicine. These microvesicles can change the basic nature of adjoining cells, and that presents a world of possibilities in tissue restoration efforts." Quesenberry, who is a physician with University Medicine Foundation, Inc., also holds the Paul Calabresi, MD, professor
|Contact: Nancy Jean|