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For the first time, researchers isolate adult stem cells from human intestinal tissue
Date:4/4/2013

er gastric bypass surgery at UNC.

To develop their technique, the researchers investigated whether the approach they had taken in mice would work in human tissue. They first looked to see if the same molecules they had found stuck on the surface of mouse stem cells were also present on human stem cells. The researchers established that these specific molecules called CD24 and CD44 -- were indeed the same between the two species. They then attached fluorescent tags to these molecules and used a special machine called a fluorescence activated cell sorter to identify and isolate the stem cells from the small intestine samples.

They found that not only could they isolate the human stem cells from human intestinal tissue, but that they also could separate different types of intestinal stem cells from each other. These two types of stem cells active and reserve are a hot topic for stem cell researchers who are still trying to figure out how reserve stem cells cycle in to replenish active stem cells damaged by injury, chemotherapy or radiation.

"Now that we have been able to do this, the next step is to carefully characterize these populations to assess their potential," said Magness. "Can we expand these cells outside of the body to potentially provide a cell source for therapy? Can we use these for tissue engineering? Or to take it to the extreme, can we genetically modify these cells to cure inborn genetic disorders or inflammatory bowel disease? Those are some questions that we are going to explore in the future."


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Contact: Les Lang
llang@med.unc.edu
919-966-9366
University of North Carolina Health Care
Source:Eurekalert

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