A Japanese research team based at the Kyoto University Center for iPS Cell Research and Application has revealed in an online science journal on Wednesday that it has found a more efficient way to differentiate human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells) into cells that constitute muscle fiber. The research paper, published in the U.S. Plos One online journal, claimed that the team has found a way to raise the speed and efficiency of maturing stem cells by as much as twice the percentage of the usual process.
The team, led by Dr. Hidetoshi Sakurai, showed data that stem cells matured to target muscle fiber cells using their process with 70 to 90 percent efficiency, against the usual process which measured at around 40 percent. Stem cells induced in this manner also reached maturity within two weeks of differentiation, faster than the usual four to six weeks in traditional stem cell regeneration processes. Together with this discovery, the research team said that it has also reproduced the pathological condition of muscular dystrophy by using stem cells. The achievement is the first-of-its-kind in the world, recreating symptoms of Miyoshi myopathy, specifically the destruction of cell membranes in skeletal muscle cells. The team was successful in restoring membrane repair functions by activating special proteins usually lacking in those with the disease.
The findings by the team is significant in that it could be applied in the study of other human muscular diseases by using patient-derived stem cells. The data should also be helpful in facilitating the medical investigation towards Miyoshi myopathy. This is not the first time that the Kyoto University Center for iPS Cell Research and Application has gotten acclaim – the center’s Director Shinya Yamanaka won the Nobel Prize in 2012 for creating human stem cells that are capable of turning into any kind of tissue in the body.
[via Jiji Press]