Monday, November 07, 2011

Rejuvenating 100 Year Old Cells: Advances in Regenerative Medicine

"Signs of aging were erased and the iPSCs obtained can produce functional cells, of any type, with an increased proliferation capacity and longevity," explains Jean-Marc Lemaitre who directs the Inserm AVENIR team....The age of cells is definitely not a reprogramming barrier. _SD
Cell Rejuvenation via IPSC

Scientists at the Functional Genomics Institute have taken cells donated by persons older than 100 years, and reprogrammed these senescent cells into pluripotent stem cells and embryonic stem cells. These stem cells can then be differentiated into specialised cells for cell, tissue, and organ replacement therapy -- once the details are worked out.
The researchers have successfully rejuvenated cells from elderly donors, some over 100 years old, thus demonstrating the reversibility of the cellular aging process.

To achieve this, they used an adapted strategy that consisted of reprogramming cells using a specific "cocktail" of six genetic factors, while erasing signs of aging. The researchers proved that the iPSC cells thus obtained then had the capacity to reform all types of human cells. They have the physiological characteristics of "young" cells, both from the perspective of their proliferative capacity and their cellular metabolisms.

Researchers first multiplied skin cells (fibroblasts) from a 74 year-old donor to obtain the senescence characterized by the end of cellular proliferation. They then completed the in vitro reprogramming of the cells. In this study, Jean-Marc Lemaitre and his team firstly confirmed that this was not possible using the batch of four genetic factors (OCT4, SOX2, C MYC and KLF4) traditionally used. They then added two additional factors (NANOG and LIN28) that made it possible to overcome this barrier.

Using this new "cocktail" of six factors, the senescent cells, programmed into functional iPSC cells, re-acquired the characteristics of embryonic pluripotent stem cells.
In particular, they recovered their capacity for self-renewal and their former differentiation potential, and do not preserve any traces of previous aging. To check the "rejuvenated" characteristics of these cells, the researchers tested the reverse process. The rejuvenated iPSC cells were again differentiated to adult cells and compared to the original old cells, as well as to those obtained using human embryonic pluripotetent stem cells (hESC).

...The results obtained led the research team to test the cocktail on even older cells taken from donors of 92, 94 and 96, and even up to 101 years old. "Our strategy worked on cells taken from donors in their 100s. The age of cells is definitely not a reprogramming barrier." He concluded. "This research paves the way for the therapeutic use of iPS, insofar as an ideal source of adult cells is provided, which are tolerated by the immune system and can repair organs or tissues in elderly patients." adds the researcher.

...Inserm's AVENIR "Genomic plasticity and aging" team, directed by Jean-Marc Lemaitre, Inserm researcher at the Functional Genomics Institute (Inserm/CNRS/Université de Montpellier 1 and 2) performed the research. The results were published in Genes & Development on November 1, 2011 _SD
The first use of this new regenerative technology is likely to be cell replacement therapy. But as the methods for growing replacement tissues and organs in the lab are perfected, the methods should be suitable for producing cells to use in growing replacement tissues and organs for purposes of disease treatment and for treating senescence.

Cross-posted from Al Fin

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