Body: Researchers have developed a cell culture test to detect substances that are directly or indirectly harmful to embryos. Based on an existing test used for developing new drugs and chemicals, the augmented version is designed to help reduce the number of animal experiments.
Body: Heart attack, or myocardial infarction, is one of the leading causes of death worldwide. Although modern surgical techniques, diagnostics and medications have greatly improved early survival from these events, many patients struggle with the long-term effects of permanently damaged tissue, and the 5-year mortality rate remains high. Now, researchers have developed a minimally invasive exosome spray that helped repair rat hearts after myocardial infarction.
Body: There are striking similarities in the development of two types of specialized sensory cells: the so-called 'hair cells' that receive sound vibrations in the inner ear, and the Merkel cells that sense light touch at the surface of the skin. These developmental similarities are a legacy of shared evolutionary history.
Body: Scientists reveal that during hematopoietic regeneration, RNA expressed from a part of the genome considered 'junk DNA' is used by hematopoietic stem cells to get activated and proliferate. The study shows that these so-called transposable elements make RNA after chemotherapy and activate an immune receptor which induces inflammatory signals enhancing hematopoietic stem cell cycling and thus participating in the regeneration of the hematopoietic system.
Body: Researchers have found a vital mechanism, previously thought to have disappeared as mammals evolved, that helps protect mammalian stem cells from RNA viruses such as SARS-CoV-2 and Zika virus. The scientists suggest this could one day be exploited in the development of new antiviral treatments.
Body: Muscles and the resident stem cells (satellite cells) responsible for muscle regeneration retain memory of their location in the body. This positional memory was found to be based on the expression pattern of the homeobox (Hox) gene cluster, which is responsible for shaping the body during fetal life. These findings are expected to provide clues to elucidate the pathogenesis of muscle diseases like muscular dystrophy, and help develop regenerative treatments based on positional memory.
Body: Researchers found that the main gene that causes Rett syndrome, MeCP2, controls the differentiation pattern of neural stem cells through the microRNA miR-199a. Dysfunction in MeCP2 or miR-199a cause neural stem cells to produce more astrocytes than neurons. Furthermore, the researchers found that miR-199a mediates the production of Smad1, a downstream transcription factor of bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) signaling.
Body: Using an experimental model to simulate the blood-brain barrier, scientists reported in unprecedented detail how antioxidants protect the brain from inflammation caused by such neurodegenerative diseases as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.
Body: New advances in stem cell research will help scientists battle diseases, develop drugs and, eventually, grow organs for transplant.
Body: Scientists have discovered stem cells of the hematopoietic system in glioblastomas, the most aggressive form of brain tumor. These hematopoietic stem cells promote division of the cancer cells and at the same time suppress the immune response against the tumor. This surprising discovery might open up new possibilities for developing more effective immunotherapies against these malignant brain tumors.