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Bone marrow cells routinely help with wound healing

s been studied for a number of purposes in recent years because it is rich in stem cells cells that can go on to become many different kinds of cells. In order to conduct this research, Isik and colleagues obtained a strain of mice whose bodies glow green under fluorescent light. The researchers removed bone marrow from the mice and then performed a stem cell transplant into a genetically identical strain of normal mice, whose cells do not glow green. Afterward, only the bone marrow of the transplanted mice glowed green inside the bodies of the mice, allowing researchers to track the bone marrow cells throughout the body. Researchers found green cells throughout the body, but observed that the highest concentration of bone marrow cells was in normal skin.

That was a surprise. People have known for awhile that there are a few white blood cells in the skin that's how people come down with contact dermatitis. Contact dermatitis happens when someone develops an inflammatory reaction to a substance that touches his or her skin. However, the white blood cells involved in contact dermatitis express a certain protein, CD45. The new cells identified in the transplanted mice did not produce that protein, and do not seem to be implicated in contact dermatitis. Researchers found that even after six weeks, long after the infection-fighting role seems to be over, the bone marrow-derived cells cluster within the healing area of a wound.

The researchers ran these skin cells through a flow cytometer to separate them into green and non-green fractions and found only the green cells in the skin produced collagen type III, which is one of the two most abundant collagens in skin. The native skin cells produced only collagen type I. Researchers do not know why bone marrow would produce collagen III, which is typically found in connective tissues such as skin.

"What we have here is a new cell population that was not previously recognized," Isik said. "The b
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Contact: Walter Neary
wneary@u.washington.edu
206-685-1323
University of Washington
3-Sep-2004


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