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Scientists Discover Molecular Pathway for Organ Tissue Regeneration and Repair
Date:2/15/2010

lecular program for organ development that also is beneficial to tissue repair," said Dr. Lang. "This study also indicates the pathway may be important to tissue regeneration and repair in other organs."

Wnt7b is part of the Wnt family of proteins, which are known to help regulate cells as they proliferate, grow and become specific cell types for the body. Wnt proteins have also been linked to the regulation of stem cells in bone marrow and skin, which suggested to researchers of the current study that Wnt might have a role in tissue regeneration.

The researchers conducted a number of experiments of kidney injury in mice to identify the repair pathway, finding that:

  • Silencing macrophage white blood cells through a process called ablation reduced the response level of Wnt proteins to injured kidney cells.
  • Deleting the Wnt7b protein from macrophages diminished normal tissue repair functions in injured kidneys.
  • Injecting into the injured kidneys a protein calked Dkk2, which is known to help regulate the Wnt pathway during embryonic development, enhanced the macrophage-Wnt7b repair process. This also restored epithelial surface cells that line internal kidney surfaces and suggested a therapeutic potential for the pathway.

Drs. Lang and Duffield said the repair pathway may benefit other injured organs because macrophages act somewhat like a universal emergency responder in the body, rushing to injured tissues wherever damage occurs. Another factor is the central role the Wnt pathway plays in cell regulation and function throughout the body.

Other collaborating institutions in the study include: the Department of Structural Biology, St, Jude Children's Hospital, Memphis, Tenn.; the departments of Internal Medicine and Molecular Biology, University of Texas'/>"/>

SOURCE Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center
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