A+ A A-

New Technique Heals Wounds With Reprogrammed Skin Cells

New Technique Heals Wounds With Reprogrammed Skin Cells

People with severe burns, bedsores, or chronic diseases such as diabetes are at risk for developing wounds known as cutaneous ulcers, which can extend through multiple layers of the skin.

Apart from being extremely painful, these wounds can lead to serious, sometimes deadly, infections or amputations. Typically, these ulcers are treated by surgically transplanting existing skin to cover the wound. However, when the ulcer is especially large, it can be challenging to graft enough skin. In such cases, researchers may isolate skin stem cells from a patientgrow them in the laboratory and transplant them back into the patient. But the procedure is time-consuming, risky for the patient, and not necessarily effective.

diabetes foot ulcers

A diabetic foot with a cutaneous ulcer. Such ulcers destroy multiple layers of skin, leading to infections. If untreated, the tissue damage may require that the toes or entire foot be amputated. 

The dramatically rising rates of diabetes alone underscore an urgent need to develop new, effective methods for the treatment of cutaneous ulcers. My laboratory at the Salk Institute focuses on developing stem-cell-based approaches to “reprogram” cells from one type into another for the purpose of regenerative medicine.

In a report in the journal Nature, we describe a new technique to directly convert the cells naturally present in an open wound into new skin cells by reprogramming the wounded cells to a stem-cell-like state, in which cells revert to an earlier, more flexible state from which they can develop into different cell types.

A postdoctoral research associate in my lab, Masakazu Kurita, who has a background in plastic surgery, knew that a critical step in wound healing was the migration of stem-cell-like cells called basal keratinocytes—from nearby, undamaged skin—into wounds.

Basal keratinocytes are precursors to many different types of skin cells. But large, severe wounds such as cutaneous ulcers no longer have any basal keratinocytes. Moreover, as these wounds heal, the cells multiplying in the area, known as mesenchymal cells, are involved primarily in closing the wound and inflammation, but they cannot rebuild healthy skin.

We wanted to convert these mesenchymal cells into basal keratinocytes, without ever taking them out of the body.

To do so, we compared the levels of different proteins inside the two cell types to figure out what distinguished them and find out what we would need to change in order to reprogram one cell type into the other.

We identified 55 proteins, which we call “reprogramming factors,” that are potentially involved in determining and maintaining the cellular identity of basal keratinocytes. We conducted further experiments on each potential reprogramming factor and narrowed the list down to four factors that would transform mesenchymal cells into basal keratinocytes in vitro in petri dishes. These keratinocytes then formed all the cells present in healthy new skin.

cross-section of regenerated skin with different cell types

This image is a cross-section of regenerated skin with different cell types indicated with fluorescent tags. Green is keratinocytes, red is mesenchymal cells, blue is the cell nucleus and magenta marks the innermost layer of skin epithelium. Image credit: Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte, CC BY-SA

We then tested the power of these four factors to treat skin ulcers on mice. Just 18 days after we applied a topical solution containing these four factors directly onto the ulcers, we saw healing happen. These four factors reprogrammed the mesenchymal cells in the wound into keratinocytes which then grew into the many cells types that make up healthy skin, closing and healing the sore. These cells continued to grow and join the surrounding skin, even in large ulcers. When we examined the mice three months and six months later, we saw that the newly generated cells functioned like healthy skin. Rodent skin heals differently from human skin, so there was no visible scar tissue, though it should have been there.Further work is necessary to ensure the safety of this approach, especially over a much longer term, but as an initial test of the concept, the results are very promising.

We are optimistic that our approach represents an initial proof of principle for in vivo regeneration of an entire three-dimensional tissue, like the skin, not just individual cell types. In addition to wound healing, our approach could be useful for repairing skin damage, countering the effects of aging and helping us to better understand skin cancer.

---
Credit

Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte, Professor, Gene Expression Laboratory, Salk Institute for Biological Studies and Adjunct Professor, Cell and Developmental Biology, University of California San Diego

This article is republished from under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

CrystalWind.ca is free to access and use.
"Would you consider a small gift of $11.11 ?" :)
ॐ Namasté - Blessings!
"Life is an echo, what you send out comes back."

© 2008-2019 crystalwind.ca. All rights reserved.

Pin It

Featured Writers

Featured Writers

Disclaimer

The information contained on CrystalWind.ca is intended for educational and informational purposes only. Please consult with your healthcare professional before making any dietary or lifestyle changes or taking supplements that may interfere with medications. Any products or information discussed are not intended to diagnose, prevent, treat or cure any illness, disease or lifestyle.

Featured This Month

Page:

Sagittarius Mythology

Sagittarius Mythology

The Sagittarius Myth Other than Virgo, the Sagittarius myth is probably the... Read more

The Elder Tree - November 25 - December 22

The Elder Tree - November 25 - December 22

The Winter Solstice ( Alban Arthuan ) Celtic Symbol : The Black Horse Or Th... Read more

Birth Totem - Owl

Birth Totem - Owl

Birth Totem Owl Birth dates: November 23 - December 21 Birth Totem: Owl C... Read more

Yule By The Hedgewitch

Yule By The Hedgewitch

Yule Yule is a solar festival and one of the Minor Sabbats. This is when th... Read more

Lunar Phases And Correspondences

Lunar Phases And Correspondences

Lunar Phases The lunar phase is important in determining the best time for ... Read more

Sagittarius

Sagittarius

Nov 23 - Dec 21 Spirit: Meeting competition Ego: Independent, studious, in... Read more

Sun in Sagittarius

Sun in Sagittarius

An Overview of Sun Sign Characteristics for Sagittarius At the heart of Sagit... Read more

Winter Solstice - A Season of Giving

Winter Solstice - A Season of Giving

CELEBRATING THE WINTER SOLSTICE The December solstice is also known as the ... Read more

Obsidian

Obsidian

The Protection Stone As a stone that emerges with dramatic force from the d... Read more

Yule

Yule

Yule Ritual Celebrated on the Winter Solstice, around December 21 each year.... Read more

Yule Blessings

Yule Blessings

Yule The Winter Solstice or Yule is one of the Lesser Wiccan Sabbats, and i... Read more

Long Snows Moon

Long Snows Moon

Elk – Obsidian – Black Spruce – Black November 22 to December 21 The Long ... Read more

Turquoise

Turquoise

The Master Healer Stone As a blue stone with a hint of green, turquoise wor... Read more

Lapis Lazuli

Lapis Lazuli

The Wisdom Stone Lapis lazuli is a deep balancer, and works ... Read more

Azurite

Azurite

The Mental Purger Stone The dark brilliance of azurite speeds the vibratio... Read more

© 2008-2019 CrystalWind.ca. Site Creation by CreativeInceptions.com.
X

Right Click

No right click