News & Commentaries

Fine-tuning Stem Cell Metabolism Prevents Hair Loss

Stembook: Fine-tuning Stem Cell Metabolism Prevents Hair Loss
An international research team has shown in mice that Rictor, a protein that helps to regulate the growth, energy, and oxygen consumption of cells, plays a key role in the cellular metabolism and longevity of hair follicle stem cells.

Cologne, Germany – A team of researchers from Cologne and Helsinki has discovered a mechanism that prevents hair loss: hair follicle stem cells, essential for hair to regrow, can prolong their life by switching their metabolic state in response to low oxygen concentration in the tissue. The team was led by Associate Professor Sara Wickström (University of Helsinki and Max Planck Institute for the Biology of Ageing) and the dermatologist Professor Sabine Eming (University of Cologne), and included researchers from the University of Cologne’s Cluster of Excellence in Aging Research CECAD, the Max Planck Institute for the Biology of Ageing, Collaborative Research Centre 829 ‘Molecular Mechanisms Regulating Skin Homeostasis’, the Center for Molecular Medicine Cologne (CMMC) (all in Cologne), and the University of Helsinki. The paper ‘Glutamine Metabolism Controls Stem Cell Fate Reversibility and Long-Term Maintenance in the Hair Follicle’ has been published in Cell Metabolism.

Placenta is Initiated First, as Cells of a Fertilised Egg Divide and Specialise

Stembook:Placenta is Initiated First, as Cells of a Fertilised Egg Divide and Specialise

London, UK – The first stages of placental development take place days before the embryo starts to form in human pregnancies. The finding highlights the importance of healthy placental development in pregnancy, and could lead to future improvements in fertility treatments such as IVF, and a better understanding of placental-related diseases in pregnancy.

Cincinnati Children's Scientists Identify Hormone that Might Help Treat Malabsorption

Stembook: Cincinnati Children's Scientists Identify Hormone that Might Help Treat Malabsorption
Human intestinal organoids grown from stem cells used to model congenital disorder in babies

Cincinnati, OH, USA – Scientists at Cincinnati Children's used human intestinal organoids grown from stem cells to discover how our bodies control the absorption of nutrients from the food we eat. They further found that one hormone might be able to reverse a congenital disorder in babies who cannot adequately absorb nutrients and need intravenous feeding to survive.

Uncovering the Clock that Sets the Speed of Embryo Development

Uncovering the Clock that Sets the Speed of Embryo Development

London, UK – Why do pregnancies last longer in some species than others? Researchers at the Francis Crick Institute have found the clock that sets the speed of embryonic development and discovered the mechanism is based on how proteins are made and dismantled. The study, published in Science, could also help us understand how different mammals evolved from one another and help refine methods for regenerative medicine.

Generation of Three-dimensional Heart Organoids

Stembook: Generation of Three-dimensional Heart Organoids

Tokyo, Japan – Heart development as it happens in vivo, or in a living organism, is a complex process that has traditionally been difficult to mimic in vitro, or in the laboratory. In a new study, researchers from Tokyo Medical and Dental University (TMDU) developed three-dimensional functional heart organoids from mouse embryonic stem cells that closely resemble the developing heart.

Next-gen Organoids Grow and Function Like Real Tissues

Stembook: Next-gen Organoids Grow and Function Like Real Tissues

Lausanne, Switzerland – The EPFL researchers used a laser to sculpt this gut-shaped scaffold within a hydrogel, a soft mix of crosslinked proteins found in the gut’s extracellular matrix supporting the cells in the native tissue. Aside from being the substrate on which the stem cells could grow, the hydrogel thus also provides the form or “geometry” that would build the final intestinal tissue.

New Insight into Mammalian Stem Cell Evolution

Stembook: New Insight into Mammalian Stem Cell Evolution
Scientists are learning about species adaptation by comparing their stem cell-related genes.

Kyoto, Japan – The genes regulating pluripotent stem cells in mammals are surprisingly similar across 48 species, Kyoto University researchers report in the journal Genome Biology and Evolution. The study also shows that differences among these ‘gene regulating networks’ might explain how certain features of mammalian pluripotent stem cells have evolved.

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