Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Cell division


We recently discovered a novel population of stem cells from the injured murine skeletal muscle. These injury induced muscle-derived stem cell-like cells (iMuSCs) are partially reprogrammed from differentiated myogenic cells and display a pluripotent-like state. The iMuSCs exhibit stem cell properties including the ability to differentiate into multiple lineages, such as neurogenic and myogenic differentiations; they also display a superior migration capacity that demonstrating a strong ability of muscle engraftment in vivo. IMuSCs express several pluripotent and myogenic stem cell markers; have the capability to form embryoid bodies and teratomas, and can differentiate into all three germ layers. Moreover, blastocyst microinjection showed that the iMuSCs contributed to chimeric embryos but could not complete germline transmission. Our results indicate that the iMuSCs are in a partially reprogrammed state of pluripotency, which are generated by the microenvironment of injured skeletal muscle.

Concepts: Developmental biology, Cell division, Stem cell, Cell biology, Cellular differentiation, Multipotency, Pluripotency, Stem cell marker


Organ replacement regenerative therapy is purported to enable the replacement of organs damaged by disease, injury or aging in the foreseeable future. Here we demonstrate fully functional hair organ regeneration via the intracutaneous transplantation of a bioengineered pelage and vibrissa follicle germ. The pelage and vibrissae are reconstituted with embryonic skin-derived cells and adult vibrissa stem cell region-derived cells, respectively. The bioengineered hair follicle develops the correct structures and forms proper connections with surrounding host tissues such as the epidermis, arrector pili muscle and nerve fibres. The bioengineered follicles also show restored hair cycles and piloerection through the rearrangement of follicular stem cells and their niches. This study thus reveals the potential applications of adult tissue-derived follicular stem cells as a bioengineered organ replacement therapy.

Concepts: Cell, Organelle, Cell division, Stem cell, Organ, Embryonic stem cell, Skin, Organ transplant


Life stress resulting from early-life experiences and domestic stress is linked with shorter leukocyte telomere length (LTL), but evidence on employment-related stress is scarce. We explored whether unemployment in early adulthood is associated with shorter LTL, a potential biomarker of premature aging.

Concepts: Death, Senescence, Biology, Cell division, Telomerase, Telomere, Immortality


Some tissue types give rise to human cancers millions of times more often than other tissue types. Although this has been recognized for more than a century, it has never been explained. Here, we show that the lifetime risk of cancers of many different types is strongly correlated (0.81) with the total number of divisions of the normal self-renewing cells maintaining that tissue’s homeostasis. These results suggest that only a third of the variation in cancer risk among tissues is attributable to environmental factors or inherited predispositions. The majority is due to “bad luck,” that is, random mutations arising during DNA replication in normal, noncancerous stem cells. This is important not only for understanding the disease but also for designing strategies to limit the mortality it causes.

Concepts: DNA, Cell, Cancer, Mutation, Ultraviolet, Cell division, Chromosome, DNA replication


Leucocyte telomere length (LTL) shortening is associated with cardiovascular ischemic events and mortality in humans, but data on its association with subclinical atherosclerosis are scarce. Whether the incidence and severity of subclinical atherosclerosis are associated with the abundance of critically short telomeres, a major trigger of cellular senescence, remains unknown.

Concepts: Death, Senescence, Cell division, Radical, Telomerase, Telomere, Maximum life span, Immortality


Multidrug resistance driven by ABC membrane transporters is one of the major reasons for treatment failure in human malignancy. Some limited evidence has previously been reported on the cell cycle dependence of ABC transporter expression. However, it has never been demonstrated that the functional activity of these transporters correlates with the cell cycle position. Here, we studied the rate of intrinsic ABC transport in different phases of the cell cycle in cultured MCF-7 breast cancer cells. The rate was characterized in terms of the efflux kinetics from cells loaded with an ABC transporter substrate. As averaging the kinetics over a cell population could lead to errors, we studied kinetics of ABC transport at the single-cell level. We found that the rate of ABC transport in MCF-7 cells could be described by Michaelis-Menten kinetics with two classical parameters, V(max) and K(M). Each of these parameters showed similar unimodal distributions with different positions of maxima for cell subpopulations in the 2c and 4c states. Compared to the 2c cells, the 4c cells exhibited greater V(max) values, indicating a higher activity of transport. They also exhibited a greater V(max)/K(M) ratio, indicating a higher efficiency of transport. Our findings suggest that cell cycle-related modulation of MDR may need to be taken into account when designing chemotherapy regimens which include cytostatic agents.

Concepts: Gene expression, Cancer, Breast cancer, Cell division, Chemotherapy, Chemotherapy regimens, Transport, MCF-7


Aim: To develop a clinically applicable MRI technique for tracking stem cells in matrix-associated stem-cell implants, using the US FDA-approved iron supplement ferumoxytol. Materials & methods: Ferumoxytol-labeling of adipose-derived stem cells (ADSCs) was optimized in vitro. A total of 11 rats with osteochondral defects of both femurs were implanted with ferumoxytol- or ferumoxides-labeled or unlabeled ADSCs, and underwent MRI up to 4 weeks post matrix-associated stem-cell implant. The signal-to-noise ratio of different matrix-associated stem-cell implant was compared with t-tests and correlated with histopathology. Results: An incubation concentration of 500 µg iron/ml ferumoxytol and 10 µg/ml protamine sulfate led to significant cellular iron uptake, T2 signal effects and unimpaired ADSC viability. In vivo, ferumoxytol- and ferumoxides-labeled ADSCs demonstrated significantly lower signal-to-noise ratio values compared with unlabeled controls (p < 0.01). Histopathology confirmed engraftment of labeled ADSCs, with slow dilution of the iron label over time. Conclusion: Ferumoxytol can be used for in vivo tracking of stem cells with MRI. Original submitted 28 February 2012; Revised submitted 8 November 2012.

Concepts: Iron, Cell division, Stem cell, In vivo, In vitro, Inner cell mass, Signal-to-noise ratio, Leukemia inhibitory factor


BACKGROUND: Temozolomide (TMZ) is the most widely used drug to treat glioblastoma (GBM), which is the most common and aggressive primary tumor of Central Nervous System and one of the hardest challenges in oncotherapy. TMZ is an alkylating agent that induces autophagy, apoptosis and senescence in GBM cells. However, therapy with TMZ increases survival after diagnosis only from 12 to 14.4 months, making the development of combined therapies to treat GBM fundamental. One candidate to GBM therapy is Resveratrol (Rsv), which has additive toxicity with TMZ in several glioma cells in vitro and in vivo. However, the mechanism of Rsv and TMZ additive toxicity, which is the aim of the present work, is not clear, especially concerning cell cycle dynamics and long term effects. METHODS: Glioma cell lines were treated with Rsv and TMZ, alone or in combinations, and the induction and the role of autophagy, apoptosis, cell cycle dynamics and protein expression and phosphorylation status were measured. We further evaluate senescence induction and clonogenic capacity at long term. RESULTS: As expected, temozolomide caused a G2 cell cycle arrest and extensive DNA damage response. Rsv did not reduced this response, even increasing pATM, pChk2 and gammaH2Ax levels, but abrogated the temozolomide-induced G2 arrest, increasing levels of cyclin B and pRb(S807/811) and reducing levels of pWee1(S642) and pCdk1(Y15). This suggests a cellular state of forced passage through G2 checkpoint despite large DNA damage, a scenario that may produce mitotic catastrophe. Indeed, the proportion of cells with high nuclear irregularity increased from 6 to 26% in 48 h after cotreatment. At a long term, a reduction in clonogenic capacity was observed, accompanied by a large induction of senescence. CONCLUSION: The presence of Rsv forces cells treated with TMZ through mitosis leading to mitotic catastrophe and senescence, fully reducing the clonogenic capacity of glioma cells and increasing the chronic effects of temozolomide.

Concepts: DNA, Cell nucleus, Cancer, Adenosine triphosphate, Cell division, Chromosome, Glioma, Cell cycle


The establishment of a specific nucleoprotein structure, the telomere, is required to ensure the protection of chromosome ends from being recognized as DNA damage sites. Telomere shortening below a critical length triggers a DNA damage response that leads to replicative senescence. In normal human somatic cells, characterized by telomere shortening with each cell division, telomere uncapping is a regulated process associated with cell turnover. Nevertheless, telomere dysfunction has also been associated with genomic instability, cell transformation, and cancer. Despite the essential role telomeres play in chromosome protection and in tumorigenesis, our knowledge of the chromatin structure involved in telomere maintenance is still limited. Here we review the recent findings on chromatin modifications associated with the dynamic changes of telomeres from protected to deprotected state and their role in telomere functions.

Concepts: DNA, Cell nucleus, Senescence, Histone, Cell division, Chromosome, Telomere, Chromatin


Acute kidney injury (AKI) is a common consequence of systemic illness or injury and it complicates several forms of major surgery. Two major difficulties have hampered progress in AKI research and clinical management. AKI is difficult to detect early and its pathogenesis is still poorly understood. We recently reported results from multi-center studies where two urinary markers of cell-cycle arrest, tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases-2 (TIMP-2) and insulin-like growth factor-binding protein 7 (IGFBP7) were validated for development of AKI well ahead of clinical manifestations-azotemia and oliguria. Cell-cycle arrest is known to be involved in the pathogenesis of AKI and this ‘dark side’ may also involve progression to chronic kidney disease. However, cell-cycle arrest has a ‘light side’ as well, since this mechanism can protect cells from the disastrous consequences of entering cell division with damaged DNA or insufficient bioenergetic resources during injury or stress. Whether we can use the light side to help prevent AKI remains to be seen, but there is already evidence that cell-cycle arrest biomarkers are indicators of both sides of this complex physiology.

Concepts: DNA, Renal failure, Chronic kidney disease, Kidney, Nephrology, Cell nucleus, Cell, Cell division