French scientists revive stem cells of dead people

French scientists revive stem cells of dead people

A group from the Pasteur Institute was able to reactivate muscle stem cells from deceased persons after 17 days, which functioned normally after transplant...

by Fabrice Chretien

French scientists were able to revive stem cells of muscle and bone marrow from persons who were already dead for 17 days, reports the journal Nature Communications in a paper released on Wednesday (13th) in France.

A team of researchers from the Pasteur Institute demonstrated that it is possible to reactivate the muscle stem cells from human cadavers and transplant them to make new ones born in perfect condition.

The scientists found that these cells did not die with the person. That's because they reduced their activity to a minimum and, after discarding the mitochondria (small bodies that help with breathing), were in a state of hibernation.

Thus, cells could survive even in an environment so hostile, without oxygen and in the middle of an acid bath, as well as in the case of a muscle injury, "sleeping and waiting out the storm," as Professor Fabrice Chrétien affirmed to the newspaper Libération.

"This reserve of stem cells could serve to make bone marrow transplants used to treat leukemia and blood diseases, among other conditions. They could also address the lack of donors," said Chretien, who led the study alongside researcher, Shahragim Tajbakhsh.

Despite the advances that have also been successfully tested in rats, the experiment showed an increase of one type of substance called ROS, which, in turn, has an incompatibility with the cells and genome, Professor Jean-Marc Lemaitre pointed out to the paper, Le Figaro. Due to this fact, the study still needs to determine whether these new cells, even in perfect condition, can hide still undetected malformations.

Translated from the Portuguese version by:

Lisa Karpova

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Author`s name Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey