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New Hope for Regenerative Medicine

l ES cell chimeras displaying abnormal phenotypes and increased lethality. In their current paper, Dr. McLaughlin and colleagues tested the functionality of uniparental ES cells in adult tissues.

"It has been known for over a decade that uniparental cells had some capacity to form tissues in vitro and in vivo but it was questionable if these embryonic stem cells could generate transplantable material that would proliferate and replace tissues in an adult."

The researchers took a two-step approach: First they injected uniparental ES cells into wild-type blastocyts to generate chimeric animals; then they harvested these chimeric fetal livers for transplant into lethally irradiated hosts. The scientists found that uniparental ES cells, regardless of parent-of-origin, were able to functionally reconstitute the entire hematopoietic system of adult mice. Furthermore, the scientists were also able to grow progenitor blood cells in culture from uniparental ES cells, and upon transplant into irradiated adult mice, show that these cells contribute, long-term, to the function of their hematopoietic system.

One issue in using uniparental ES cells for tissue transplants is their durability and safety. McLaughlin's group were able to maintain animals for over 12 months with entirely uniparental blood and were able to rescue irradiated mice with bone marrow transplants from these animals. This unambiguously proves that the transplanted uniparental cells could produce hematopoietic stem cells.

"The ability of the "sperm derived" androgenetic cells to replace adult blood was totally unexpected based on what occurs with these cells during development. The male derived androgenetic cells were at least as effective as the maternal derived cells."

Dr. McLaughlin's new paper expands the horizons for regenerative medicine, not only by demonstrating that uniparental stem cells can form adult-transplantable progenitor cells in ce
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