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Brief reviews of recently published articles, organized by stem cell type.

July 16, 2012 | Haploid Stem Cells

Haploid stem cells allow functional screening for genes involved in diverse cellular and developmental processes, and have the potential to be used in place of gametes to create animal models (Kaufman et al and Yan et al). However, mouse embryonic stem cells (ESCs) originally established from haploid embryos display a diploid karyotype (Kaufman et al), but recent studies have...

July 16, 2012 | Pluripotent Stem Cells

Embryonic stem cells (ESCs) maintained in serum are often morphologically heterogeneous and also express pluripotency associated transcription factors in a heterogeneous manner (Toyooka et al) perhaps suggesting that the pluripotent state in unstable. However, the derivation and maintenance of mESCs in serum-free conditions through the use of two small molecule kinase (Mek and GSK3)...

July 16, 2012 | Embryo Development

DNA methylation during mouse development is known to be a dynamic process; fertilization involves the removal of paternally contributed DNA, and this loss of DNA methylation continues until the blastocyst stage, when the inner cell mass (ICM) forms (Reik et al). After this stage, embryo implantation occurs alongside global re-methylation of the genome that is believed to contribute to...

June 29, 2012 | Neural Stem Cells

 

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) causes muscle weakness and atrophy throughout the body and is caused by the degeneration of motor neurons.   Stem cell therapy has been proposed as a possible treatment for ALS through cell replacement or through additional support to affected neurons (Lunn et al).   Human spinal cord-derived stem cells (HSSCs) derived from an 8-week gestation...

June 29, 2012 |

 

Neural stem cell (NSC)-based cancer therapeutics show great potential as while they display an inherent tropism for sites of brain injury they also effectively target sites of tumourigenesis through as yet unappreciated mechanisms (Aboody et al 2000 and Aboody et al 2008).   For this reason NSCs could be utilised in gene therapy strategies against various types of...

June 29, 2012 | Pluripotent Stem Cells

 

Ischemic stroke is the rapid loss of brain function due to disturbance in the blood supply to the brain leading to a loss of function in the affected area.   Studies in rodents have shown that embryonic stem cell (ESC) -derived neural stem cells (NSCs) (Daddi et al, Hicks et aland Ramos-Cabrer et al) and human foetal NSCs (Darsalia et al 2007, Darsalia et al 2011 and Kelly et al)can...

June 18, 2012 | Epiblast Stem Cells

 

Studies of the human germ line are, for obvious reasons, difficult to establish and therefore effective in vitro model systems to study the human germ line formation and subsequent specifications are attractive prospects. Primordial germ cells (PGCs) arise from the post-implantation epiblast of the embryo, and stem cells derived from these cells (Epiblast stem cells or EpiSCs...

June 18, 2012 | Pluripotent Stem Cells

 

NANOG, OCT4 and SOX2 are often given the grand title of master regulators of pluripotency, being tightly associated with human embryonic stem cell (hESC) identity and acting as some of the key reprogramming factors used in common protocols for the production of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs).   Studies in mouse ESCs (mESCs) have shown that the loss of each of these genes...

June 18, 2012 | Hair Follicle Stem Cells

 

Adult or tissue-specific stem cells play major roles in tissue regeneration during normal aging and also during disease. However, the complex multi-factor mechanisms which regulate stem cell self-renewal in adult tissues are relatively unknown. To resolve this, researchers from the laboratory of Elaine Fuchs at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, The Rockefeller University, New York...

June 5, 2012 | Pluripotent Stem Cells

 

Two recent articles in Cell Stem Cell have highlighted a growing trend in induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) biology; direct reprogramming of somatic cells to tissue stem cells such as the direct reprogramming of fibroblasts into induced neural stem cells (iNSCs).   Building on work from Sheng Ding and Marius Wernig, who first reprogrammed neural progenitors from fibroblasts (Kim...

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