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Maintaining the Utility of Stem Cells in Tissue Engineering

Maintaining the Utility of Stem Cells in Tissue Engineering

PR Newswire

WASHINGTON, Feb. 7, 2019

WASHINGTON, Feb. 7, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- An article published in Experimental Biology and Medicine (Volume 244, Issue 1, January, 2019) ( provides an alternative approach for maintaining the usefulness of stem cells in tissue engineering. The study, led by Dr. Y. James Kang, professor from the Regenerative Medicine Research Center at Sichuan University West China Hospital in Chengdu, China, and the Memphis Institute of Regenerative Medicine at University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis, Tennessee, USA, reports that alterations in mitochondrial dynamics can alter a stem cell's ability to differentiate into multiple cell types.

Bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (BMSCs) are adult stem cells that are capable of rapid proliferation and differentiation into multiple types of cells. BMSCs are also less immunogenic and tumorogenic than some other types of stem cells. Nonetheless, the use of BMSCs in tissue engineering is jeopardized by their tendency to spontaneously differentiate when cultured in vitro. Thus, identifying strategies that prevent differentiation and maintain BMSC stemness is a high priority for tissue engineering. Alterations in mitochondrial dynamics, a complicated cellular process consisting of mitochondrial fusion and fission, have been reported in stem cells that have lost their stemness. However, there is no direct evidence demonstrating a relationship between mitochondrial dynamics and the maintenance of stemness.

In the current study, Dr. Kang and colleagues examined mitochondrial dynamics in BMSCs during differentiation and the effects of mitochondrial fission on stemness.

During BMSC differentiation, mitochondrial dynamics shifted from fission to fusion. Correspondingly, promotion of mitochondrial fission enhanced stemness. Collectively, these findings demonstrate that mitochondrial fission contributes to the maintenance of BMSCs' stemness. Dr. Kang said, "We are excited to have discovered that mitochondrial fission contributes to the maintenance of BMSCs' stemness, addressing a long-standing question regarding the regulation of stemness of stem cells. As important, we offer a strategic approach to maintaining the stemness of BMSCs in cultures in relation to the clinical application of BMSCs."

Dr. Steven R. Goodman, editor-in-chief of Experimental Biology & Medicine, said, "Kang and colleagues have made an important contribution to the field of stem cell biology and regenerative medicine. The linkage between mitochondrial fission and stemness on BMSCs will allow future studies designed to understand control of these linked events."

Experimental Biology and Medicine is a global journal dedicated to the publication of multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary research in the biomedical sciences. The journal was first established in 1903. Experimental Biology and Medicine is the journal of the Society of Experimental Biology and Medicine. To learn about the benefits of society membership visit If interested in publishing in the journal, please visit

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Last Updated: 07-Feb-2019