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Stem Cells International publishes papers in all areas of stem cell biology and applications. The journal publishes basic, translational, and clinical research, including animal models and clinical trials.
Chief Editor, Professor Li, has a background in cardiac stem cell transplantation, using young stem cells to promote tissue repair following injury to rejuvenate the aged individual, and the development of biomaterials that can easily integrate into damaged heart tissue.
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Topical Application of bFGF Alone for the Regeneration of Chronic Tympanic Membrane Perforations: A Preliminary Case Series
Background/objective. Most researchers consider that basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) facilitates the repair of chronic tympanic membrane (TM) perforations in chronic otitis media (COM). However, the addition of biological materials affects bFGF levels. This study was performed to compare the effects of bFGF alone and myringoplasty for the repair of chronic perforations. Study design. A prospective cohort control study. Materials and methods. Patients with chronic central perforations who met the inclusion criteria were divided into two groups, i.e., bFGF alone group and underlay myringoplasty group. In the bFGF alone group, the epithelium was removed circumferentially around the perforation edge to create fresh edges. Approximately, 0.1–0.15 mL of bFGF solution was applied twice daily for 3 months to the TM, to keep the edges moist without a scaffold. In the myringoplasty group, the perichondrium graft was placed underneath the TM remnant by endoscopy. TM closure and hearing outcomes were evaluated at 12 weeks after surgery or at the end of bFGF treatment. Results. A total of 29 patients consisting 13 in the bFGF alone group and 16 in the myringoplasty group were finally included in the analysis. Of the 13 patients in the bFGF alone group, the perforations were small in 6 and medium in 7; the etiology was secondary to COM in 11 and to trauma in 2. One patient with an unhealed perforation continued bFGF treatment until 6 months, while the others stopped at 3 months. Of the seven medium-sized perforations, none of the five COM perforations closed, while the two traumatic perforations achieved complete closure within 2 and 4 weeks, respectively. The successful closure rate was 28.6% (2/7). Successful closure was achieved in 66.7% (4/6) of the six small perforations with COM, with a mean closure time of 4.75 weeks. Of the 16 patients in the myringoplasty group, all perforations were medium-sized and were secondary to COM in 15 cases and traumatic in 1 case; all achieved complete closure. Conclusions. bFGF alone facilitated the repair of chronic traumatic perforations and small perforations with COM, but not medium-sized perforations with COM. These observations indicated that the regenerative conditions of traumatic perforations are better than those of COM perforations when using bFGF alone, and that graft materials could play a critical role in the regeneration of larger-sized chronic perforations with COM.
METTL3-Mediated m6A Methylation Regulates Muscle Stem Cells and Muscle Regeneration by Notch Signaling Pathway
The Pax7+ muscle stem cells (MuSCs) are essential for skeletal muscle homeostasis and muscle regeneration upon injury, while the molecular mechanisms underlying muscle stem cell fate determination and muscle regeneration are still not fully understood. N6-methyladenosine (m6A) RNA modification is catalyzed by METTL3 and plays important functions in posttranscriptional gene expression regulation and various biological processes. Here, we generated muscle stem cell-specific METTL3 conditional knockout mouse model and revealed that METTL3 knockout in muscle stem cells significantly inhibits the proliferation of muscle stem cells and blocks the muscle regeneration after injury. Moreover, knockin of METTL3 in muscle stem cells promotes the muscle stem cell proliferation and muscle regeneration in vivo. Mechanistically, METTL3-m6A-YTHDF1 axis regulates the mRNA translation of Notch signaling pathway. Our data demonstrated the important in vivo physiological function of METTL3-mediated m6A modification in muscle stem cells and muscle regeneration, providing molecular basis for the therapy of stem cell-related muscle diseases.
Comparison of the Donor Age-Dependent and In Vitro Culture-Dependent Mesenchymal Stem Cell Aging in Rat Model
Clinical experiments suggest that mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) may be useful for tissue repair therapies or treatment of the autoimmune disorders. There is still lack of consensus concerning the age limit of MSC donors, majority of researchers suggest the autologous MSC therapies of patients not exceeding age limit of 55-60 yrs. The purpose of our study was to compare the selected parameters of MSCs from adipose tissue (adipose stem cell, ASC) collected from young and old rats of ages corresponding to patient’s ages 25 yrs. and 80 yrs., respectively. The differences of parameters of ASCs from young and old animals were compared with the differences between ASCs from short-term (3 passage) and long-term (30 passage) in vitro culture. Cell morphology, surface marker expression, growth potential, metabolic activity, β-galactosidase activity, clonogenic potential, angiogenic potential, and differentiation ability of ASCs from young and aged animals and from in vitro cultures at 3rd and 30th passages were compared and analyzed. It may be concluded that ASCs may be applied for autologous transplantations in aged patients. Comparison of ASC aging dynamics depending on host aging or in vitro culture duration suggests that long-term in vitro culture may affect ASCs more than natural aging process of their host. We suggest that ASCs expanded in vitro prior to their clinical use must be carefully screened for the possible aging effects resulting not only from donor age, but from the duration of their in vitro culture.
Evaluation of Silk Fibroin-RGD-Stem Cell Factor Scaffold Effect on Adhesion, Migration, and Proliferation of Stem Cells of Apical Papilla
This study explored the effects of a silk fibroin-RGD-stem cell factor (SF-RGD-SCF) scaffold on the migration, proliferation, and attachment of stem cells of apical papilla (SCAPs). SF, SF-RGD, SF-SCF, and SF-RGD-SCF scaffolds were prepared, and laser confocal microscopy was used to observe the adhesion and growth status of SCAPs on the scaffolds. Furthermore, the numbers of SCAPs on the scaffolds were counted by a digestion counting method to evaluate their proliferation. Cells on the SF-RGD-SCF scaffold proliferated more than those on the other scaffolds and showed a more obvious tendency to migrate to the scaffold’s deep porous structure after 7 d seeding. Live/dead cell staining results showed that almost all the adhered cells were alive after 7 d. Furthermore, cell counting showed that the number of cells on the SF-RGD-SCF scaffold was highest after both 1 and 7 d (). Thus, the SF-RGD-SCF composite is biocompatible and promotes the migration, adhesion, and proliferation of SCAPs, making it of potential use as a scaffold for cell-homing pulp regeneration.
Key Markers and Epigenetic Modifications of Dental-Derived Mesenchymal Stromal Cells
As a novel research hotspot in tissue regeneration, dental-derived mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) are famous for their accessibility, multipotent differentiation ability, and high proliferation. However, cellular heterogeneity is a major obstacle to the clinical application of dental-derived MSCs. Here, we reviewed the heterogeneity of dental-derived MSCs firstly and then discussed the key markers and epigenetic modifications related to the proliferation, differentiation, immunomodulation, and aging of dental-derived MSCs. These messages help to control the composition and function of dental-derived MSCs and thus accelerate the translation of cell therapy into clinical practice.
Mesenchymal Stem Cells and COVID-19: Cure, Prevention, and Vaccination
COVID-19 disease has been a global health problem since late 2019. There are many concerns about the rapid spread of this disease, and yet, there is no approved treatment for COVID-19. Several biological interventions have been under study recently to investigate efficient treatment for this viral disease. Besides, many efforts have been made to find a safe way to prevent and vaccinate people against COVID-19 disease. In severe cases, patients suffer from acute respiratory distress syndrome usually associated with an increased level of inflammatory cytokines, called a cytokine storm. It seems that reequilibrating the hyperinflammatory response of the host immune system and regeneration of damaged cells could be the main way to manage the disease. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have been recently under investigation in this regard, and the achieved clinical outcomes show promising evidence for stem cell-based therapy of COVID-19. MSCs are known for their potential for immunomodulation, defense against virus infection, and tissue regeneration. MSCs are a newly emerged platform for designing vaccines and show promising evidence in this area. In the present study, we provided a thorough research study on the most recent clinical studies based on stem cells in the treatment of COVID-19 while introducing stem cell exclusivities for use as an immune disorder or lung cell therapy and its potential application for protection and vaccination against COVID-19.