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What’s the Stem Cells Buzz this Week? - HLHS-hiPSCs and NO, Müller Glia Rejuvenation, Cartilage Tissue Engineering, and HCC-CSCs in Cirrhotic Patients!

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

Hypoplastic left heart syndrome-hiPSCs Uncover NO Signaling Deficiency

Hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS) currently suffers from a poorly defined genotype-phenotype relationship, and so the group of Timothy J. Nelson (Mayo Clinic, Rochester, USA) generated human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) from patient samples and then studied cardiovascular cell lineage differentiation. Interestingly, the study established the existence of dysregulated nitric oxide (NO)-dependent Notch signaling in the earliest cardiac specification stages that inhibited hiPSC-cardiomyocyte formation. However, the authors restored cardiogenesis in vitro via the potentiation of NO signaling employing small molecules. See this exciting new study in Stem Cells now!

Müller Glia Rejuvenation by Telomere Elongation

Müller glia play a supportive/protective role in the retina and display immense potential as a cell-based treatment for retinal injury. However, Müller glia suffer the same fate as many in vitro-expanded cells: a loss of function with extended time in culture. The labs of Yongqing Liu (University of Louisville, KY, USA) and Fangtian Dong (Peking Union Medical College Hospital, Beijing, China) now demonstrate that this is due to telomere attrition and that growing cells in 3-dimensional sphere suspension culture avoids/reverses such attrition. See Stem Cells now for all the fine print.

Reviewing Cartilage Tissue Engineering with MSCs

Current strategies to engineer cartilage tissue for the treatment of diseases such as osteoarthritis have employed the mechanical and chemical stimulation of chondrocytes with great success. The lab of Andrea R. Tan and Clark T. Hung (Columbia University, New York, USA) set out to relate this previously amassed swathe of knowledge to cartilage tissue engineering to mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). This Stem Cells Translational Medicine review provides information on the modulation of “stem cell behavior, tissue development and function using well-developed techniques from chondrocyte-based cartilage tissue engineering.” Sounds like a fun read!

EpCAM+ Liver CSCs in HCC in Cirrhotic Patients

Liver cirrhosis often leads to the development of Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) with cancer stem cells (CSCs) thought to represent the cell of origin. A new study from the lab of Nirupma Trehanpati and Shiv Kumar Sarin (Institute of Liver & Biliary Sciences (ILBS), New Delhi, India) sought to assess the prevalence and characteristics of EpCAM+-CSCs in advanced cirrhosis in their new Stem Cells Translational Medicine study. Interestingly, cirrhotic patients displayed numerous EpCAM+-CSCs whose tumor-causing potential correlated to increased Wnt signaling. Could this newly delineated mechanism represent a novel means to prevent/treat HCC in cirrhotic patients?

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!