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Evidence that adults stem cells differentiate like embryonic stem cells published in Nature

MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL(June 18, 2002)--Researchers at the University of Minnesota Stem Cell Institute (SCI) have found the first evidence that adult bone marrow-derived cells can differentiate in vitro and in vivo into cells of all three embryonic germ layers (endoderm, ectoderm and mesoderm) in similar manner as embryonic stem cells (ES cells). SCI Director Catherine Verfaillie, M.D., and her colleagues call these cells multipotent adult progenitor cells (MAPCs). The results of the research are published by Nature and will be available online Thursday, June 20, 2002, at http://www.nature.com/nature. The results will be presented at 9:30 a.m. the same day at a press conference in Minnesota. Verfaillie, the lead researcher, reports that cells grown from adult mouse and rat bone marrow can be cultured without aging and with active telomerase, an enzyme found in embryonic stem cells that prevents aging.

In subsequent studies, Verfaillie's lab showed that single MAPCs can contribute to most, if not all, tissues of mice after they have been injected into the blastocyst of a mouse. The result is a chimerical animal. "This occurs with one out of every three cells, and contribution is to all tissues of the mouse," said Verfaillie. "Some of the animals are 40 percent derived from the bone marrow stem cells, suggesting that the cells contribute functionally to a number of organs. Again, this is similar to what one would expect of ES cells.

"In contrast to ES cells, when we inject the bone marrow stem cells into recipient animals, the bone marrow stem cells do not form teratomas [tumors containing many different tissue types], but respond to local cues and differentiate into blood cells as well as into epithelium of liver, gut, and lung."

In response to recent critics of the potential of adult stem cells, Verfaillie's research shows in vitro that a single cell differentiates into cells of the three germ laye
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Contact: Deane Morrison
morri029@umn.edu
612-624-2346
University of Minnesota
20-Jun-2002


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