New way out: Researchers show how stem cells exit bloodstream

New way out: Researchers show how stem cells exit bloodstream

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Researchers at North Carolina State University have discovered that therapeutic stem cells exit the bloodstream in a different manner than was previously thought. This process, dubbed angiopellosis by the researchers, has implications for improving our understanding of not only intravenous stem cell therapies, but also metastatic cancers.

When white blood cells need to get to the site of an infection, they can exit the bloodstream via a process called diapedesis. In diapedesis, the white blood cell changes its shape in order to squeeze between or through the epithelial cells that form the walls of the blood vessel. Diapedesis is a well-understood process, and researchers believed that other types of cells, like therapeutic stem cells or even metastatic cancer cells, exited blood vessels in a similar way – with the cells pushing or squeezing themselves out.

But a group of researchers led by Ke Cheng, associate professor of molecular biomedical sciences at NC State with a joint appointment in the NC State/UNC-Chapel Hill Department of Biomedical Engineering, found that these stem cells behaved differently.

Therapeutic stem cells share the same ability to exit the bloodstream and target particular tissues that white blood cells do. But the precise way that they did so was not well understood, so Cheng and his team utilized a zebrafish model to study the process. The genetically modified zebrafish embryos were transparent and had fluorescently marked green blood vessels. Researchers injected the embryos with white blood cells and cardiac stem cells from humans, rats and dogs. These cells had all been marked with a red fluorescent protein.

[Phys.org]

June 29, 2016 / by / in , , , , , , , , , ,

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