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What’s the Stem Cells Buzz this Week? - Age-dependent MSC Effects, Retinal Organoid Differentiation, Reviewing Cardiac Fibrosis, and Primitive Endoderm Survival!

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The Stem Cells Portal brings you a roundup of some of the new and exciting stories in the ever-changing world of stem cells, regenerative medicine, and beyond!

Mesenchymal Stem Cell Source Age-Dependent Effects in Spinal Cord Injury

As mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) represent an ideal candidate for the treatment of traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI), researchers from the lab of Michael G. Fehlings (University Health Network, Toronto, Ontario, Canada) compared MSCs derived from term‐birth human umbilical cord, first‐trimester human umbilical cord, and adult bone marrow. In their STEM CELLS Translational Medicine article, Vawda et al. discovered that the younger umbilical cord-derived MSCs promoted selective long‐term functional recovery alongside histological improvements in a clinically relevant model of cervical SCI when compared to the less-effective older cells.

Comparison of Retinal Organoid Differentiation from Human Pluripotent Stem Cells

As current retinal induction protocols remain variable in their efficiency and do not routinely produce morphologically or functionally mature photoreceptors, researchers from the lab of Majlinda Lako (Newcastle University, Newcastle, UK) sought to determine the impact of embryoid body (EB) formation and maintenance methods as well as pluripotent stem cell line background. Reporting in STEM CELLS Translational Medicine, Mellough et al. demonstrate that cell line‐specific differences dominate the variables that underline the early stages of retinal organoid differentiation efficiency, while, the EB generation method and maintenance conditions determine the later differentiation and maturation of retinal organoids.

Reducing Cardiac Fibrosis to Enhance Pluripotent Stem Cell Therapy

A STEM CELLS review from the laboratory of Yigang Wang (University of Cincinnati, Ohio, USA) focuses on interactions between implanted stem cells and fibroblasts after myocardial infarction (MI). A deeper understanding of the process of cardiac scarring in a patient's infarcted heart may facilitate the design and timing selection of cell implantation in clinics. Liang et al. discuss the potential effects of fibroblasts and collagen matrix remodeling on stem cells and propose a combination of anti‐fibrotic strategies and stem cell‐based therapies for the treatment of MI. The authors hope that their review will aid the identification of new targets that can optimize the host substrate environment to facilitate cell engraftment and functional integration.

Platelet-derived growth factor Signaling in Primitive Endoderm Survival

Segregation between embryonic and extra‐embryonic lineages occurs at the beginning of mammalian development and requires multiple processes participating in the acquisition and the maintenance of cell identities. In their recent STEM CELLS article, researchers from the labs of Jérôme Artus and Michel Cohen‐Tannoudji (Institut Pasteur, Paris, France) characterized the intracellular factors involved in the survival of the epiblast, that will form the embryo proper, and the primitive endoderm, an extraembryonic lineage participating to the formation of the yolk sac, just after their formation. Bessonnard et al. suggest an essential role for platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) signaling in primitive endoderm survival mediated through PI3K‐mTOR and independently from p53.

That’s a wrap for now! Please feel free to leave a comment and discuss the papers covered here on the Stem Cells Buzz. Happy reading!