Scientists Find Mechanism That may Trigger Degenerative Disease

by Kathy Jones on  June 27, 2010 at 3:17 PM Research News   - G J E 4
A mechanism, which regulates stem-cell differentiation in mice testes, suggests a similar process that may trigger degenerative disease in humans, scientists have said.
 Scientists Find Mechanism That may Trigger Degenerative Disease
Scientists Find Mechanism That may Trigger Degenerative Disease

By manipulating STAT3 - a protein that signals stem cells to decide differentiation - researchers identified a key regulator of spermatogonial stem cell self-renewal.

STAT3 protein regulates genes that are involved in cell growth and division, cell movement, and the self-destruction of cells. For the testis, the differentiated cell type is sperm.

In self-renewal, a stem cell duplicates itself, while differentiation is production of differentiated cells that maintain the function of the tissue or organ. Impairment of either of these stem-cell functions manifests as tissue and organ failure.

"We looked at a mechanism that is involved in the differentiation of stem cells, and we were actually able to shift that decision away from differentiation into self-renewal," said Jon Oatley, assistant professor of reproductive physiology, who led the study.

"In this study, we found that impairment of STAT3 signalling enhances spermatogonial stem cell self-renewal without affecting general proliferation of the cells. That indicates an alteration in the balance of spermatogonial stem cell fate decisions that inhibited differentiation in favour of self-renewal," he added.

However, he insists that further studies are required in order to establish this theory properly.

Source: ANI

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