Science and Technology
publicado em 03/06/2009 às 20h00:00
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Chinese create stem cells from pigs

The discovery opens the way to abandon the use of human embryos in the race to produce organs for transplants.

 
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Foto Divulgação / IdMed
Cells taken from the ear of pigs were transformed into stem cells
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Cells taken from the ear of pigs were transformed into stem cells

A group of Chinese scientists succeeded in obtaining pluripotent stem cells - capable of developing into any kind of tissue - the cells from pigs. It is the first time such a feat is achieved from somatic cells of hoofed animals (known as ungulates).

The research was published in the Journal of Molecular Cell Biology, a new journal from Oxford Press. According to the publishers, the implications are important, since the study may lead to the creation of models for human genetic diseases and animal organs suitable for transplantation into humans, animals and the development of disease resistant.

Law Xiao, coordinator of the stem cell laboratory of the Institute of Biochemistry and Cell Biology Shanghai, and colleagues induced pluripotent cells from the use of transcription factors in order to reprogram cells taken from the ear and the spinal cord of pigs.

After the chemical cocktail of factors to reprogram cells was introduced by a virus, the cells developed in laboratory colonies of stem cells similar to embryonic cells. Tests have confirmed that they were able to differentiate into cell types that make up the three germ layers - endoderm, mesoderm and ectoderm - a quality of all embryonic stem cells.

With the information obtained from the successful induction of pluripotent cells will make it easier for researchers to develop embryonic stem cells from embryos of pigs or other ungulates.

Pluripotent stem cells from pigs will be very useful in several ways, such as genetically modified produce copies for use in organ transplants for humans. The species of pigs are pretty similar to the man in form and function, as the dimensions of the bodies, said Xiao.

We can use embryonic stem cells or induce stem cells to modify genes of the immune system of pigs in order to make the body of the animal is compatible with the human immune system. With this, we would use the pigs as donors to provide organs for patients who do not submit rejection, he noted.

Brazil

Source: FAPESP
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