April 21, 2024

Adult stem cells can flourish without fusion

One of the objections to the promise of adult stem cells is that they do not actually transform themselves into heart, brain, blood or liver cells but rather fuse with other cells. However, a researcher at Yale University in the US has found that bone-marrow derived stem cells can form tissues other than blood without fusion.

In an ingenious experiment, two strains of genetically-engineered mice were created whose cells would produce a glowing green jellyfish protein if fusion occurred. Male bone marrow was then transplanted into a female. Two to three months later, they found differentiated cells from the donor in the lungs, livers and skins of the female — and none of them glowed green. “We wouldn’t argue that fusion never occurs,” says one of the researchers on Krause’s team. But “fusion is not absolutely required” for bone marrow to turn into non-blood cells.