Rhode Island Hospital boffins have discovered how cells communicate with each other during times of cellular injury.
The findings shed new light on how the body repairs itself when organs become diseased, through small particles known as microvesicles, and offers hope for tissue regeneration.
The paper is published in the March 2010 edition of the journal Experimental Hematology.
Lead author Jason Aliotta, MD, a physician researcher in the pulmonary/critical care and hematology/oncology departments at Rhode Island Hospital, and his colleagues focused their work on the microvesicles. These particles are several times smaller than a normal cell and contain genetic information such as messenger ribonucleic acid (RNA), other species of RNA and protein. The paper shows a novel mechanism by which the cells communicate with each other through these microvesicles. During times of cellular injury or stress, or with certain diseases like cancer, infections and cardiovascular disease, these particles are shed and then taken up by other cells in the body.
he genetic information and protein in the microvesicles helps to reprogram the accepting cell to behave more like the cell from which the particle was derived.
Aliotta is also an assistant professor of medicine at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University and a physician with University Medicine Foundation, Inc.
He says, "What we attempted to understand is how cells within the bone marrow are able to repair organs that are unrelated to those bone marrow cells, such as the lung. Our work suggests that when the lung is injured or diseased and cells within the lung are stressed or dying, they shed microvesicles. Those microvesicles are then consumed by cells within the bone marrow, including stem cells, which are present in small numbers within the circulatory system. Those bone marrow cells then turn into lung cells." (ANI)