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xchrom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-05-11 12:40 PM
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Lab-grown glands, eyes and brain parts

Embryonic stem cells self-organize themselves into functional pituitary gland. Image: Yoshiki Sasai, RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology.

In the latest of a series of remarkable studies, researchers from the RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology in Kobe, Japan report that embryonic stem cells grown under special conditions can spontaneously organize themselves into a partial pituitary gland that is fully functional when transplanted into mice.

Over the past four years, Yoshiki Sasai and his colleagues of RIKEN's Organogenesis and Neurogenesis Group have developed a novel cell culture technique for growing embryonic stem (ES) cells in floating three-dimensional aggregates. In their new study, published recently in Nature, they used it to grow mouse ES cells and then altered the culture conditions to mimic the chemical environment that gives rise to the adenohypophysis, or anterior pituitary.

Development of the adenophyophysis requires interactions between two different types of tissue the oral ectoderm, which goes on to form the skin inside the mouth, and the hypothalamic neuroectoderm, which generates a small structure called the hypothalamus. These interactions cause a region of the oral ectoderm to invaginate, or fold in on itself, and then detach itself to form a small sac called Rathke's pouch.

Cells within Rathke's pouch then continue to differentiate further, generating the six different types of hormone-producing cell found in the mature adenohypophysis. Each one synthesizes a different hormone, under the control of the hypothalamus; the hormones are secreted into the blood stream and perform a wide range of critical functions, including the regulation of growth and blood pressure, metabolism and sex organ function.
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MineralMan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-05-11 12:58 PM
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1. This is all promising stuff, but researchers are still far from
the point where they'll be able to safely create new organs. There's still much that's not understood about the process when using stem cells, and the worry is that growth may not stop when it should. A lot of research will be needed to prevent implanted stem cells from becoming tumors, rather than functional organs. Use in humans is still a ways off for this kind of research. The short life span of mice, for example, presents a problem when thinking about using the techniques in humans.
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flamingdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-05-11 01:08 PM
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2. Pretty soon we can say "Grow a brain Moran"
and mean it!
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HuckleB Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-05-11 05:26 PM
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3. Very interesting. Recommended.
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Fantastic Anarchist Donating Member (953 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-05-11 05:32 PM
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4. The rest of the world is passing us by.
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