From Fat to Smooth Muscle

Researchers are methodically chipping away at the mysteries of cellular differentiation; the more they understand, the more they can do to realize the dream of true regenerative medicine. Via EurekAlert!: scientists "have transformed adult stem cells taken from human adipose - or fat tissue - into smooth muscle cells, which help the normal function of a multitude of organs like the intestine, bladder and arteries. ... Fat tissue may prove a reliable source of smooth muscle cells that we can use to regenerate and repair damaged organs ... Smooth muscle cells have also been produced from stem cells found in the brain and bone marrow, but acquiring stem cells from adipose tissue is much easier and most patients have adipose tissue readily available ... The next step [involves] identifying and developing the growth factors that will induce transformation of cells more quickly. [Researchers are] also starting to use smooth muscle cells for tissue engineering in the urinary tract, including the urethra."



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