A new way to grow bone and other tissues using stem cells has been developed by a Columbia University scientist.
Previous approaches have included the use of angiogenic growth factors and the fabrication of artificial blood vessels.
However, there are problems associated with these approaches. Among these problems: artificially fabricated blood vessels do not readily branch out and network with host blood vessels, and blood vessels induced by angiogenic growth factors tend to be immature and "leaky."
Lead researcher Dr. Jeremy Mao transplanted hematopoietic stem cells along with mesenchymal stem/progenitor cells to promote the regeneration of vascularized tissues.
The researchers found that the tissue regenerated in bone more rapidly than when either type of stem cell was used alone.
Furthermore, Dr. Mao's team found that the number of vessels and the diameter of the vessels produced by the co-transplantation of hematopoietic and mesenchymal to create vascularized tissue were dramatically increased when combined with Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor or VEGF.
"The work has potential beyond bones and may have implications for the growth of muscle, nerve and organs," said Mao.
"The synergistic action of mesenchymal cells and hematopoietic cells provide an alternative approach for regrowing a host of vascular tissues," Mao added.
The study is published in the Public Libraries of Science.