Researchers at New York University (NYU) Langone Medical Center have created stem cells from the eggs of aging mice that could be used for reproductive purposes and regenerative medicine. The study found that even though the eggs from older females were slightly less efficient at making stem cells than those from younger females, the capacity to create stem cells was sustained.
"Using stem cells derived from older female mice eggs, we have produced new heart cells, brain cells, and nerve cells," says David Keefe, MD (pictured), chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at NYU Langone Medical Center. "If these findings are applied to humans, a woman could use her eggs to produce a child—and then store other eggs to later create stem cells to be turned into cartilage, for example, for the treatment of arthritis, neural cells if she develops Parkinson's disease, and even heart cells to repair a damaged heart."
Study authors say the technique described in the study could avoid most ethical and religious concerns about embryonic stem cells because only eggs, not embryos, would be used to create the stem cell lines. Stem cell lines created from eggs also carry the same immune markers as the eggs, which would eliminate the risk of rejection.
Illustration: New York University Langone Medical Center.
New York University Langone Medical Center News Release (04/22/10)
Abstract (Aging Cell; Vol. 9, Issue 2, 113-125 (04/10))