Stem cells can be harvested long after death: study

June 12, 2012
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

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Natural compound reduces signs of aging in healthy mice

October 27, 2016

Much of human health hinges on how well the body manufactures and uses energy. For reasons that remain unclear, cells' ability to produce energy declines with age, prompting scientists to suspect that the steady loss of efficiency ...

A metabolic switch to turn off obesity

October 27, 2016

You've tried all the diets. No matter: you've still regained the weight you lost, even though you ate well and you exercised regularly! This may be due to a particular enzyme in the brain: the alpha/beta hydrolase domain-6 ...

Mitochondria control stem cell fate

October 27, 2016

What happens in intestinal epithelial cells during a chronic illness? Basic research conducted at the Chair of Nutrition and Immunology at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) addressed this question by generating a new ...

Scientists develop 'world-first' 3-D mammary gland model

October 27, 2016

A team of researchers from Cardiff University and Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute has succeeded in creating a three-dimensional mammary gland model that will pave the way for a better understanding of the mechanisms ...


Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

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.
not rated yet Jun 13, 2012
Sounded right to my ear. And doesn't isn't that the proof of correctness, common usage?
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.