Canadian researchers have generated pluripotent stem cells from horses for the first time in history.
The findings will help enable new stem cell based regenerative therapies in veterinary medicine, and because horses' muscle and tendon systems are similar to our own, the development of preclinical models aid to human applications.
These induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells can develop into most other cell types and are a source of great hope for use in regenerative medicine and the development of new drugs to prevent and treat various illnesses.
After two months of reprogramming equine somatic cells, the resulting iPS cell lines expressed hallmark markers of pluripotency, contained a correct set of horse chromosomes, and were able to form a full spectrum of cell types and tissues fulfilling the criteria of pluripotency.
The term pluripotency refers to the ability of a stem cell to become any of the vast number of different cell types found in the body.
"This means that the cell lines passed all the tests available to us for determining if they truly are what we think they are: pluripotent and a good source for future regenerative applications," said Kristina Nagy, research associate in the Nagy laboratory and lead author of the study.
The study has been published in the journal Stem Cell Reviews and Reports.