Scientists regenerated living organ for first time
Team of scientists, from University of Edinburgh, have succeeded in regenerating a living organ for the first time. Living mouse organ is regenerated successfully and transplanted in to a mouse. Regenerated organ closely resembles the juvenile thymus in terms of architecture and gene expression profile.
Researchers developed a organ THYMUS GLAND, specialized organ of the immune system which produce important immune cells. The function of the thymus was also restored and the mice began making more white T cells, which are important for fighting off infection. However, it is not yet clear whether the immune system of the mice was improved.
The researchers targeted a protein produced by cells of the thymus known as Forkhead box N1 (FOXN1), which helps to control how important genes are switched on. By increasing levels of FOXN1, the team instructed stem cell-like cells to rebuild the organ.
"Our results suggest that targeting the same pathway in humans may improve thymus function and therefore boost immunity in elderly patients, or those with a suppressed immune system. However, before we test this in humans we need to carry out more work to make sure the process can be tightly controlled." said Clare Blackburn, Professor of Tissue Stem Cell Biology, MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine.
Thymus gland is one of the first organs to degenerate in normal healthy individuals. Also thymus deteriorates with age, which is why older people are often more susceptible to infections such as flu. The discovery could also offer hope to patients with DiGeorge syndrome, a genetic condition that causes the thymus to not develop properly.
This study was published in Development Journal.