Urine-derived human stem cells have robust regenerative potential

WINSTON-SALEM, NC – June 28, 2022 – Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine (WFIRM) researchers who first identified that stem cells in human urine have potential for tissue regenerative effects, are continuing to investigate the power of these cells. In their latest published study, they focus on how telomerase activity affects the regenerative potential of these and other stem cell types.

Telomerase is an enzyme essential for the self-renewal and potential of different types of stem cells. Telomerase activity is also closely linked to longevity. The research team investigated the regenerative importance of telomerase activity, particularly in terms of characteristic cell surface marker expression, multipotent differentiation capacity, chromosomal stability, and formation safety in vivo. of tumours.

Their findings provide a new perspective for assessing the ability of telomerase-positive human urine-derived stem cells to grow into a wide variety of other cell types and to be used as an optimal cell source for stem cell therapy or cell therapy. cell-based tissue regeneration.

Yuanyuan Zhang, Ph.D, of WFIRM, lead author of the paper published by Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biologystated that urine-derived human stem cells can be easily isolated from urine samples, which offers clear advantages over stem cells from other sources, such as bone marrow or tissues adipose, which often require surgery for collection.

“Being able to use a patient’s own stem cells for therapy is considered advantageous because they do not induce immune responses or rejection,” said Anthony Atala, MD, director of WFIRM, co-author of the paper. . “Additionally, the non-invasive collection method is suitable for rapid clinical translation.”

The study demonstrates that human primary urinary stem cells with positive telomerase activity act as a distinct subpopulation with potential regenerative capacity in both cell growth and its ability to grow into other cells, Zhang said. A better understanding of the alterations of this cellular subpopulation throughout human life and how they result in aging, kidney damage or cancer, among others, will be globally beneficial.

“As a source of safe cells, telomerase-positive human urine stem cells have robust regenerative potential, which could induce better tissue repair,” Zhang said.

The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationship that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest. This work is partially supported by research grants from the National Institutes of Health NIDDK (R21DK071791), (R56DK100669), NIAID (R21AI152832), and (R03AI165170).

Additional co-authors include: Yingai Shi, Guihua Liu, Rongpei Wu, David L. Mack, Xiuzhi S. Sun, and Xuan Guan.

About the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine: The Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine is recognized as an international leader in translating scientific discovery into clinical therapies, with many world firsts, including the development and implementation of the first modified organ in a patient. More than 400 people at the institute, the largest in the world, work on more than 40 different tissues and organs. A number of basic principles of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine were first developed at the institute. WFIRM researchers have successfully designed replacement tissues and organs in all four categories – flat structures, tubular tissues, hollow organs and solid organs – and 15 different applications of cell/tissue therapy technologies, such as skin, tissue Urethra, cartilage, bladders, muscles, kidneys, and vaginal organs have been used successfully in human patients. The institute, part of the Wake Forest School of Medicine, is located in the Innovation District in downtown Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and is driven by urgent patient needs. The institute is making a global difference in regenerative medicine through collaborations with more than 400 entities and institutions around the world, through its government, academic and industrial partnerships, its start-ups and through major initiatives in the technologies of advanced, such as tissue engineering, cell therapies. , diagnostics, drug discovery, biomanufacturing, nanotechnology, gene editing and 3D printing.

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