Stem Cells Could Offer New Source for Skin Grafts

Researchers are now one step closer to being able to use skin tissue derived from stem cells for the treatment of burn victims, according to a study published November 21 in The Lancet.

By tweaking the way the cells are grown in a Petri dish, a team of scientists at the Institute for Stem Cell Therapy and Exploration of Monogenic Diseases near Paris, France, was able to coax human embryonic stem cells into becoming multilayered skin tissue. The group also grafted the human stem cell-derived skin onto the backs of five mice. The foreign tissue grew well for at least 12 weeks, suggesting that it could at least be a safe temporary solution until skin tissue from a patient's body, aka autologous graft tissue, is ready.

via Observations: Stem Cells Could Offer New Source for Skin Grafts.

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Scientists find emotion-like behaviors, regulated by dopamine, in fruit flies

Scientists at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have uncovered evidence of a primitive emotion-like behavior in the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster.

Their findings, which may be relevant to the relationship between the neurotransmitter dopamine and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), are described in the December issue of the journal Neuron.

The Drosophila brain contains only about 20,000 neurons and has long been considered a powerful system with which to study the genetic basis of behaviors such as learning and courtship, as well as memory and circadian rhythms. What hasn’t been clear is whether the Drosophilabrain also could be used to study the genetic basis of “emotional” behaviors. Continue reading “Scientists find emotion-like behaviors, regulated by dopamine, in fruit flies”

Hormone ghrelin can boost resistance to Parkinson’s disease

Ghrelin, a hormone produced in the stomach, may be used to boost resistance to, or slow, the development of Parkinson’s disease, Yale School of Medicine researchers report in a study published in a recent issue of the Journal of Neuroscience. Continue reading “Hormone ghrelin can boost resistance to Parkinson’s disease”

FDA Announces New Warning on Plavix: Avoid Use with Prilosec/Prilosec OTC

Patients should avoid using the stomach acid reducer Prilosec/Prilosec OTC (omeprazole) with the anti-clotting drug Plavix (clopidogrel), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned on Nov. 17.

New data suggest that when patients take both Prilosec and Plavix, Plavix’s ability to block platelet aggregation (anti-clotting effect) may be reduced by about half.

“Both of these drugs, when used properly, provide significant benefits to patients.” said Mary Ross Southworth, Pharm.D., of the Division of Cardiovascular and Renal Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “However, patients at risk for heart attacks or strokes who use Plavix to prevent platelet aggregation will not get the full effect of this medicine if they are also taking Prilosec.”

Plavix is used to prevent blood clots that could lead to heart attacks or strokes in at-risk patients. Omeprazole, the active ingredient of Prilosec and Prilosec OTC, is a proton pump inhibitor (PPI) used to reduce the production of stomach acid and prevent stomach irritation.

via FDA Announces New Warning on Plavix: Avoid Use with Prilosec/Prilosec OTC.

The Emerging Field of Biophotonic Communication

Last year, researchers at the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago showed that human cells in culture could synchronize their internal chemical processes even though they were mechanically, chemically, and electrically isolated from one another. The cells, it seemed, were communicating through the exchange of photons.Various other groups have shown similar effects. Many cells seems to produce optical and UV photons at about 10 photons per square cm/s, a rate that cannot be explained by ordinary thermodynamic emissions. Other evidence indicates that this form of optical communication can increase the rate of mitosis in cells by up to 50 percent.So how do they do it? Today Sergei Mayburov at the Lebedev Institute of Physics in Moscow puts forward the idea that optical communication is a natural process in many cells that can be explained by the way we already know many cells to function.

 

 

 

 

via Technology Review: Blogs: arXiv blog: The Emerging Field of Biophotonic Communication.

Surface Bacteria Key to Healthy Skin

On the skin’s surface, bacteria are abundant, diverse and constant, but inflammation is undesirable. Research at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine now shows that the normal bacteria living on the skin surface trigger a pathway that prevents excessive inflammation after injury. Continue reading “Surface Bacteria Key to Healthy Skin”

Knockouts in human cells point to pathogenic targets

Whitehead researchers have developed a new type of genetic screen for human cells to pinpoint specific genes and proteins used by pathogens, according to their paper in Science.

In most human cell cultures genes are present in two copies: one inherited from the father and one from the mother. Gene inactivation by mutation is therefore inefficient because when one copy is inactivated, the second copy usually remains active and takes over.

 

In the rare human cell line used for this genetic screen, the cells have only one copy of each chromosome, except for chromosome 8, which has two copies. Because this cell line has only one copy of almost all of the chromosomes, it is ideal for efficiently making knockout human cells. Credit: Science/AAAS

Continue reading “Knockouts in human cells point to pathogenic targets”