Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Stem Cells, Cellular Therapy & Biobanking
Scientific Community
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article

Researchers Derive Purified Lung and Thyroid Progenitors from Embryonic Stem Cells

Published: Thursday, April 12, 2012
Last Updated: Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Bookmark and Share
Research provides information about tissue engineering technology which can be used to develop new gene and cell-based therapies to treat lung diseases.

Researchers at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) and Boston Medical Center (BMC) have derived a population of pure lung and thyroid progenitor cells in vitro that successfully mimic the developmental milestones of lung and thyroid tissue formation.

The research, which will be published in the April 6 edition of the journal Cell Stem Cell, identifies factors necessary for embryonic stem cells to differentiate into lung progenitor cells and provides key information about how the tissue engineering technology can be used to develop new gene and cell-based therapies to treat lung diseases.

Darrell Kotton, MD, co-director of the Center for Regenerative Medicine (CReM) at Boston University and BMC and attending physician in pulmonary, allergy and sleep medicine at BMC, led this study.

The findings represent years of research dedicated to identifying how to generate an unlimited source of lung progenitor cells in vitro from embryonic stem (ES) cells.

Since ES cells resemble the early developing embryo, CReM investigators studied normal lung and thyroid development in the developing embryo. They used this knowledge as a roadmap to induce the same sequence of developmental milestones in ES cells in culture.

Previous research shows that progenitor cells from the embryo’s gut tube (called endoderm) give rise to the lungs, thyroid, pancreas, gastrointestinal tract and other organs.

This led the researchers to focus on that time of development in order to identify what factors are responsible for how the cells differentiate.

The ES cells were engineered to include a fluorescent tag that glowed at the moment lung or thyroid cells were generated from ES cells in culture.

Using this approach, the researchers differentiated the ES cells into gut tube endoderm and then identified growth factors that induced lung and thyroid lineages.

Ultimately, 160 lung or thyroid progenitors could be generated per starting stem cell and these progenitors could be purified using the fluorescent tag that glowed only once the cells had become lung or thyroid cells.

“We succeeded in capturing a cell fate decision in cultured stem cells that is normally very transient during the earliest stages of lung and thyroid development,” said Kotton, who also is an associate professor of medicine at BUSM.

Kotton continued, “Most importantly, our results emphasize that the precise inhibition of certain pathways at defined stages is as important as the addition of pathway stimulators at different developmental stages during lung and thyroid specification.”

To demonstrate that the cells purified by the investigators were lung progenitors, Kotton’s team studied the global gene expression profiles of the cells they derived and placed the cells into a three-dimensional lung scaffold. The cells grew and multiplied, forming two types of lung cells that normally coat the air sacs of the lungs.

The findings indicate that this technology can be used to grow new primordial lung progenitors to study human disease in vitro, which could lead to novel therapies to treat patients with end stage lung disease, such as emphysema and Cystic Fibrosis.

“The ability to generate a supply of progenitor cells with the potential to differentiate into lung cells will be a huge boon to several research fields,” said James Kiley, PhD, director of the Division of Lung Diseases at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), which funded the study.

Kiley continued, “It lays the groundwork for studying the mechanisms and programming of cells during lung development, which, in turn, will help develop new treatments.”

The research, which was done in collaboration with Massachusetts General Hospital, Mt. Sinai School of Medicine and the Vermont Lung Center, was funded by the NHLBI through an American Recovery & Reinvestment Act (ARRA) grant.

Further Information
Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 2,800+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 4,000+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters

Sign In

Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Scientific News
Ancient Viral Molecules Essential for Human Development
Genetic material from ancient viral infections is critical to human development, according to researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.
CRI Identifies Emergency Blood-formation Response
Researchers report that when tissue damage occurs, an emergency blood-formation system activates.
New Way to Force Stem Cells to Become Bone Cells
Potential therapies based on this discovery could help people heal bone injuries or set hardware, such as replacement knees and hips.
Dead Bacteria to Kill Colorectal Cancer
Scientists from Nanyang Technological University (NTU Singapore) have successfully used dead bacteria to kill colorectal cancer cells.
Promise of Newborn Stem Cells to Revolutionize Clinical Practice
In this article Shweta Sharma, PhD, discusses the potential of an Umbilical Cord Blood bank as an untapped source of samples for research and clinical trials.
The Life Story of Stem Cells
A model analyses the development of stem cell numbers in the human body.
Novel Stem Cell Line Avoids Risk of Introducing Transplanted Tumors
Progenitor cells might eventually be used to repair or rebuild damaged or destroyed organs.
Advancing Genome Editing of Blood Stem Cells
Genome editing techniques for blood stem cells just got better, thanks to a team of researchers at USC and Sangamo BioSciences.
Molecule Proves Key to Brain Repair After Stroke
Scientists found that a molecule known as growth and differentiation factor 10 (GDF10) plays a key role in repair mechanisms following stroke.
Towards Patient-Specific Drug Screening
A new breakthrough by the 3D stem cell printing team at Heriot-Watt could pave the way to individually tailored drug testing regimes, both reducing the need for animal testing and ensuring that patients receive drugs which are most effective for their individual needs.
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
2,800+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,000+ scientific videos