Overview: Stem cells in human urine have the potential to regenerate tissue.
Source: Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center
The researchers at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine (WFIRM), who were the first to determine that stem cells in human urine have the potential for tissue regenerative effects, are continuing their investigation into the power of these cells.
In their latest published study, they focus on how telomerase activity affects the regenerative potential of these and other types of stem cells.
Telomerase is an enzyme essential for the self-renewal and potential of various types of stem cells. Telomerase activity is also closely related to longevity.
The research team investigated the regenerative significance of telomerase activity, particularly in terms of characteristic expression of cell surface markers, multipotent differentiation ability, chromosomal stability and safety of in vivo formation of tumors.
Their findings provide a new perspective to evaluate the ability of telomerase-positive human urine-derived stem cells to become a wide variety of other cell types and to be used as an optimal cell source for stem cell therapy or cell-based tissue regeneration.
WFIRM’s Yuanyuan Zhang, Ph.D, lead author of the paper published by: Frontiers in cell and developmental biology, said human urine-derived stem cells can be easily isolated from urine samples, offering distinct advantages over stem cells from other sources, such as bone marrow or adipose tissue, which often require surgical intervention to collect them.
“The ability to use a patient’s own stem cells for therapy is considered beneficial because they do not induce an immune response or rejection,” said WFIRM Director Anthony Atala, MD, who is a co-author of the paper. “In addition, the non-invasive collection method is suitable for rapid clinical translation.”
The study shows that human primary urinary stem cells with positive telomerase activity act as a distinct subpopulation with potential regeneration capacity in both cell growth and the ability to become other cells, Zhang said.
A better understanding of changes in this cell subpopulation over the human lifespan, and how these translate into aging, kidney damage or cancer, among other things, will generally be beneficial.
“As a safe cell source, telomerase-positive human urine-derived stem cells have robust regenerative potential, which could induce better tissue repair,” Zhang said.
The authors declare that the research was conducted without any commercial or financial relationship that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.
Financing: This work is supported in part by research grants from the National Institutes of Health NIDDK (R21DK071791), (R56DK100669), NIAID (R21AI152832) and (R03AI165170).
Other co-authors include: Yingai Shi, Guihua Liu, Rongpei Wu, David L. Mack, Xiuzhi S. Sun, and Xuan Guan.
About this genetics research news
Original research: Open access.
†Differentiation capacity of human urine-derived stem cells to maintain telomerase activityby Yuanyuan Zhang et al. Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology
Differentiation capacity of human urine-derived stem cells to maintain telomerase activity
Telomerase activity is essential for the self-renewal and potential of embryonic, induced pluripotent and cancer stem cells, as well as some somatic stem cells, such as human urine-derived stem cells (USCs). However, it remains unclear how telomerase activity affects the regeneration potential of somatic stem cells.
The aim of this study was to determine the regenerative significance of telomerase activity, in particular to evaluate the expression of cell surface markers, multipotent differentiation ability, chromosomal stability and in vivo tumorigenic transformation, in any clonal population of human primary USCs. A total of 117 USC samples were obtained from 10 healthy male adults (25-57 years old).
Polymerase chain reaction amplification of a telomere repeat was used to identify USCs with positive telomerase activity (USCsTA+†
A total of 80 USCsTA+ (70.2%) were identified from 117 USC clones, but they were not detected in the paired normal bladder smooth muscle cell and bone marrow stromal cell samples. In the age group of 20-40 years, approximately 75% of USC clones showed positive telomerase activity, while in the age group of 50 years, 59.2% of USC clones showed positive telomerase activity. USCsTA+ extended to passage 16, underwent 62.0 ± 4.8 population doublings, produced more cells and was superior for osteogenic, myogenic and uroepithelial differentiation compared to USCsTA−†
Importantly, USCs showed a normal chromosome and no oncological transformation after implantation in vivo†
Overall, as a safe cell source, telomerase-positive USCs have robust regenerative potential in cell proliferation and multipotent differentiation ability.