Stem cells can be harvested long after death: study

Stem cells are fed at the University of Connecticut's Stem Cell Institute in 2010. Some stem cells can lay dormant for more than two weeks in a dead person and then be revived to divide into new, functioning cells, scientists in France say.

Some stem cells can lay dormant for more than two weeks in a dead person and then be revived to divide into new, functioning cells, scientists in France said Tuesday.

The research, published in the journal Nature Communications, unlocks further knowledge about the versatility of these cells, touted as a future source to replenish damaged tissue.

"Remarkably, skeletal muscle stem cells can survive for 17 days in humans and 16 days in mice, post mortem well beyond the 1-2 days currently thought," they said in a statement.

The stem cells retained their ability to differentiate into perfectly functioning , they found.

"This discovery could form the basis of a new source, and more importantly new methods of conservation, for stem cells used to treat a number of pathologies," the statement said.

Stem cells are infant cells that develop into the specialised tissues of the body.

They have sparked great excitement as they offer hopes of rebuilding organs damaged by disease or accident.

The study led by Fabrice Chretien of France's Pasteur Institute found that to survive in adverse conditions, stem cells lower their to enter a dormant state, using less energy.

The team then also looked at stem cells taken from bone marrow, where are produced.

These remained viable for four days after death in and retained their ability to reconstitute tissue after a .

"By harvesting stem cells from the bone marrow of consenting donors post mortem, doctors could address to a certain extent the shortage of tissues and cells," said the statement, issued by the four institutes backing the research.

The investigators sounded a word of caution, though.

The approach was "highly promising", but required more testing and validation before it could be tested in humans.

More information: Skeletal muscle stem cells adopt a dormant cell state post mortem and retain regenerative capacity, Nature Communications, June 12, 2012

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Molecule dictates how stem cells travel

Jan 14, 2006

U.S. researchers have defined a molecule that dictates how blood stem cells travel to the bone marrow and establish blood and immune cell production.

Dutch researcher develops new method of stem cell culture

May 21, 2010

Deborah Schop of the University of Twente, The Netherlands, and the MIRA research institute has developed a new method of stem cell culture. With the new method Schop can cultivate stem cells in a closed system. This means ...

Adipose tissue produces cells involved in immune response

Nov 26, 2010

French researchers from CNRS and the Universite Paul Sabatier have demonstrated the existence, in adipose tissue, of stem cells similar to those found in bone marrow. These cells are capable of differentiating into mast cells, ...

Recommended for you

User comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Silverhill
not rated yet Jun 12, 2012
(from the lead sentence)
Some stem cells can lay dormant
No, they cannot. They can LIE dormant, however. Article writers, learn and remember the differences between these common verbs! Your ignorance should not be on display here.
Nemo
not rated yet Jun 13, 2012
Sounded right to my ear. And doesn't isn't that the proof of correctness, common usage?
Silverhill
not rated yet Jun 13, 2012
Then your ear, too, is undereducated. Repetition of error does not cause correctness. "U" and "R", as used in SMS-type messages, despite being common, are not the correct forms of "you" and "are". (Not yet, at least...)

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.