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What’s the Stem Cells Buzz this Week? – Messaging with MSC-EVs, MSCs Feel the Force, Assessing Aging MSCs, and Peripheral Nerve Progenitor Cells and HO!

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A roundup of some the recent stories in the ever-changing world of stem cells and regenerative medicine

MSCs Send mRNA Messages in Extracellular Vesicles

The action of paracrine-acting factors, rather than cell fusion or transdifferentiation, may represent the main driving force behind the success of mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) based therapies. A new study from Lorenza Lazzari (Fondazione IRCCS, Milan, Italy) has recently described one paracrine modality that may be of huge importance - extracellular vesicles (EVs). Ragni et al demonstrate that horizontal mRNA transfer through EVs represents an important factor controlling MSCs regenerative capabilities. Cool finding; see all the details in Stem Cells!

Feeling the Force Improves Immunoregulation of MSCs

The mobilization of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) from their niche into the vasculature imposes certain biomechanical forces whose consequences are relatively unknown. A new study from the lab of Pamela L. Wenzel (University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, USA) now demonstrates that fluid frictional forces stimulate antioxidant and anti-inflammatory mediators and immune cell-recruiting chemokines. Furthermore, in their new Stem Cells study, Diaz et al confirm that conditioning MSCs with such forces can improve their therapeutic value in a rat model of traumatic brain injury. MSCs really do feel the force!

Assessing aging MSCs to Improve Therapeutic Function

Aging mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) lose therapeutic functionality when compared to their younger counterparts, although the mechanisms behind this loss have not been fully delineated. Towards this goal, researchers from the laboratory of Inés Colmegna (McGill University, Montreal, Canada) have assessed MSCs from elderly patients undergoing coronary artery bypass graft surgery and have discovered that MSCs exhibited a pro-inflammatory secretome that reduced their immunosuppressive capabilities. Therefore, the authors suggest that targeting pro-inflammatory cytokines/chemokines produced by MSCs may improve autologous cell-based therapies in the elderly. See Stem Cells Translational Medicine for all the details.

Peripheral Nerve Progenitor Cells Propels Unwanted Bone Formation 

The formation of bone in non-skeletal sites in reaction to injury, also called heterotopic ossification (HO), is poorly understood and lacks treatment options. However, a new study from Alan R. Davis (Baylor College of Medicine, Houston Texas, USA) has revealed that HO occurs thanks to the action of progenitor cells residing within the peripheral nerves in mouse and human. Could this information lead to the construction of new and effective therapies? See Stem Cells Translational Medicine to find out!

So that’s a wrap for this week! Please let us know your views on all the stories we have covered here on the Stem Cells Buzz, and please let us know if we have missed anything interesting! Happy reading!