||In work with mice, a team of researchers has pinpointed the location of bone-generating stem cells in the spine, at the ends of shins and in other bones.
NIH Study Confirms Location of Stem Cells Near
Cartilage-Rich Regions in Bones
Working with mice, a team of researchers has pinpointed
the location of bone-generating stem
cells in the spine, at the ends of shins and in other
bones. The team also has identified factors that
control the stem cells’ growth. The research was
conducted at NIH and other institutions.
“Identifying the location of bone stem cells and
some of the genetic triggers that control their
growth is an important step forward,” said NICHD
acting director Dr. Alan E. Guttmacher. “Now,
researchers can explore ways to harness these cells
so that ultimately they might be used to repair
damaged or malformed bone. Also, studies of this
stem cell population could yield insight into the
formation of bone tumors.”
Researchers have long known that stem cells from
bone marrow give rise to bone cells and to red and
white blood cells. The current study is the first to
identify the location of bone stem cells in the adult
mouse skeleton. The findings appear online in the
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The findings open up two avenues for additional research.
Studies to identify the chemical signals that
initiate the formation of new bone tissue could lead
to new techniques for regenerating damaged or injured
bone. Similarly, studies of the chemical events
that trigger the initial stages of tumor formation
may lead to ways to prevent or treat bone tumors.
NIH Study Offers Hope to Patients with
A daily dose of a specific form of vitamin E significantly
improved the liver disease nonalcoholic steatohepatitis
(NASH), according to a study funded
by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive
and Kidney Diseases. Results were published Apr.
28 online in the New England Journal of Medicine. In
addition, Actos (pioglitazone), a drug used to treat
diabetes, also improved many features of NASH but
was associated with weight gain.
NASH is a chronic liver disease that is linked to
weight gain and obesity and can lead to cirrhosis, or
scarring, liver cancer and death. It resembles alcoholic
liver disease but occurs in patients who drink
little or no alcohol. NASH can occur in children, the
elderly, normal-weight and non-diabetic persons.
The disease is believed to be caused by abnormal
metabolism of fats, which increases levels of oxidants,
compounds that transfer oxygen in the
liver. This disease affects about 3 to 4 percent of
the U.S. population, leads to death from cirrhosis
and increases the risk of death from cardiovascular
disease. There is currently no approved treatment
“This is an important landmark in the search for effective treatments for NASH,” said Dr. Pat
Robuck, director of the clinical trials program
in NIDDK’s Division of Digestive Diseases and
Scientists Find Genes That Influence Brain
Scientists have identified new genes and pathways
that influence an individual’s typical pattern
of brain electrical activity, a trait that may
serve as a useful surrogate marker for more
genetically complex traits and diseases. One of
the genes, for example, was found to be associated
A report of the findings by researchers at the
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
appeared online Apr. 26 in the Proceedings of
the National Academy of Sciences.
“This important advance sustains our hope for
the potential of genome-wide association techniques
to further the study of complex genetic
disorders such as alcoholism,” said NIAAA acting
director Dr. Kenneth Warren. Genome-wide association
studies allow researchers to rapidly scan
the complete set of DNA of many individuals to
find genetic variations associated with a particular
disease or condition.
Expression of Proteins Linked to Poor Outcome
In Women with Ovarian Cancer
Scientists have established the presence of certain
proteins in ovarian cancer tissues and have
linked these proteins to poor survival rates in
women with advanced stages of the disease. The
study, led by scientists at the National Cancer
Institute, appeared in Cancer online, Apr. 19.
The proteins in question belong to the nuclear
factor kappa Beta (NF-kB) family. NF-kB controls
many processes within the cell including cell survival
and proliferation, inflammation, immune
responses and cellular responses to stress.
“This study sheds light on the distinctive genetic
features of the NF-kB pathway and may provide
targets for the development of novel therapies
for ovarian cancer,” said lead investigator Dr.
Christina Annunziata, associate clinical investigator,
Medical Oncology Branch.