New Molecular Matrix Helps Deliver Healing Stem Cells Efficiently to Injured Aging Muscles

by Iswarya on  August 16, 2018 at 4:15 PM Research News
RSS Email Print This Page Comment bookmark
Font : A-A+

New molecular matrix developed by a research team can deliver muscle stem cells called muscle satellite cells (MuSCs) effectively to injured muscle tissue in patients whose muscles don't regenerate properly, reports a new mice study. The findings of the study are published in the journal Science Advances.
New Molecular Matrix Helps Deliver Healing Stem Cells Efficiently to Injured Aging Muscles
New Molecular Matrix Helps Deliver Healing Stem Cells Efficiently to Injured Aging Muscles

In lab experiments on mice, the hydrogel successfully delivered MuSCs to injured, aged muscle tissue and boosted the healing process while protecting the stem cells from harsh immune reactions.

The method was also successful in mice with a muscle tissue deficiency that emulated Duchene muscular dystrophy, and if research progresses, the new hydrogel therapy could one day save the lives of people suffering from the disease.

Inflammation war zone

Simply injecting additional muscle satellite cells into damaged, inflamed tissue has proven inefficient, in part because the stem cells encounter an immune system on the warpath.

"Any muscle injury is going to attract immune cells. Typically, this would help muscle stem cells repair the damage. But in aged or dystrophic muscles, immune cells lead to the release of a lot of toxic chemicals like cytokines and free radicals that kill the new stem cells," said Young Jang, an assistant professor in Georgia Tech's School of Biological Sciences and one of the study's principal investigators.

Only between 1 and 20 percent of injected MuSCs make it to damaged tissue, and those that do, arrive there weakened. Also, some tissue damage makes any injection unfeasible, thus the need for new delivery strategies.

"Our new hydrogel protects the stem cells, which multiply and thrive inside the matrix. The gel is applied to the injured muscle, and the cells engraft onto the tissues and help them heal," said Woojin Han, a postdoctoral researcher in Georgia Tech's School of Mechanical Engineering and the paper's first author.

The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases of the National Institutes of Health funded the research.

Hydrogel: watery nets

Hydrogels often start out as water-based solutions of molecular components that resemble crosses, and other components that make the ends of the crosses attach to each other. When the components come together, they fuse into molecular nets suspended in water, resulting in a material with the consistency of a gel.

If stem cells or a drug are mixed into the solution, when the net, or matrix, forms, it ensnares the treatment for delivery and protects the payload from death or dissipation in the body. Researchers can easily and reliably synthesize hydrogels and also custom-engineer them by tweaking their components, as the Georgia Tech researchers did in this hydrogel.

"It physically traps the muscle satellite cells in a net, but the cells also grab onto chemical latches we engineered into the net," Han said.

This hydrogel's added latches, which bond with proteins was protruding from stem cells' membranes, not only increase the cells' adhesion to the net but also hinder them from committing suicide. Stem cells tend to kill themselves when they're detached and free-floating.

The chemical components and the cells are mixed in solution then applied to the injured muscle, where the mixture sets to a matrix-gel patch that glues the stem cells in place. The gel is biocompatible and biodegradable.

"The stem cells keep multiplying and thriving in the gel after it is applied," Jang said. "Then the hydrogel degrades and leaves behind the cells engrafted onto muscle tissue the way natural stem cells usually would be."

Stem cell breakdown

In younger, healthier patients, muscle satellite cells are part of the natural healing mechanism.

"Muscle satellite cells are resident stem cells in your skeletal muscles. They live on muscle strands like specks, and they're key players in making new muscle tissue," Han said.

"As we age, we lose muscle mass, and the number of satellite cells also decreases. The ones that are left get weaker. It's a double whammy," Jang said. "At a very advanced age, a patient stops regenerating muscle altogether."

"With this system we engineered, we think we can introduce donor cells to enhance the repair mechanism in injured older patients," Han said. "We also want to get this to work in patients with Duchene muscular dystrophy."

"Duchene muscular dystrophy is surprisingly frequent," Jang said. "About 1 in 3,500 boys get it. They eventually get respiratory defects that lead to death, so we hope to be able to use this to rebuild their diaphragm muscles."

If the method goes to clinical trials, researchers will likely have to work around the potential for donor cell rejection in human patients.

Source: Eurekalert

Post a Comment

Comments should be on the topic and should not be abusive. The editorial team reserves the right to review and moderate the comments posted on the site.
Notify me when reply is posted
I agree to the terms and conditions
Advertisement

Recommended Reading

More News on:

Stem Cells - Cord Blood Stem Cells - Fundamentals Parkinsons Disease Surgical Treatment Genetics and Stem Cells Ageing and Sleep Benefits of Meditation / Meditation Therapy Bone Marrow Transplantation Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine Stem Cells Telomere Shortening And Ageing 

News A - Z

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

News Search

Medindia Newsletters

Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

Find a Doctor

Stay Connected

  • Available on the Android Market
  • Available on the App Store

News Category

News Archive