Newts will help find a treatment of osteoarthritis by using stem cells

The research group from the Tissue Engineering Centre, UK has developed a methodology for restoring cartilage in osteoarthritis, based on the unique properties of amphibians to regenerate lost limbs. The results published in the journal Nature Scientific Reports.

There is currently no full treatment that stops the progression of osteoarthritis. There is only a therapy aimed at reducing pain and preserving mobility. Patients with severe form of the disease often need total joint replacement surgery.

To restore the cartilage tissue can be used autologous (own) stem cells from bone marrow of the patient, that will not be rejected by the body. However, with age, the number of stem cells is reduced, and those cells that are still characterized by a low capacity for growth and tissue repair.

Amazing properties of amphibian cells, in particular newt long been known to science. They are able to change in response to his injuries – dedifferentiate. The cells are aggregated and transferred to the state characteristic for the stem cells. After that, they can divide and create new cells are needed to restore damaged tissue.

Unfortunately, this mechanism of regeneration is absent in humans. The research team from York, led by Dr Paul Genever decided to recreate the conditions of regeneration in the laboratory by growing 3D aggregates from human cells.

Scientists have grown spherical clusters of cells, almost invisible to the naked eye, in tiny cavities. The purpose of the experiment was to return the cells to an embryonic state. In doing so, the cells eat their own constituents and consequently reduce in size.

“Using this technology, we have demonstrated that human cells can also be dedifferentiated in early embryonic stage, after which they can generate new tissue. We used pharmaceuticals for stimulating self eating cells and their dedifferentiation. Although the result is not as effective as 3D cultivation, we will continue to further investigation, “- said Dr. Genever.

“The next step – a more detailed study of the differentiation process to find a suitable treatment that can restore the damaged joint. It is the goal of our work. “