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Stomach Cells Naturally Revert to Stem Cells
Scientists from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and Utrecht Medical Center in the Netherlands report in the new study that a class of specialized cells in the stomach reverts to stem cells more often than they thought.
“We already knew that these cells, which are called chief cells, can change back into stem cells to make temporary repairs in significant stomach injuries, such as a cut or damage from infection,” said Jason Mills, MD, PhD, associate professor of medicine at Washington University. “The fact that they’re making this transition more often, even in the absence of noticeable injuries, suggests that it may be easier than we realized to make some types of mature, specialized adult cells revert to stem cells.”
Image: One or more chief cells, which normally make digestive juices in the stomach, have changed into a stem cell in the images above, filling its gland (outlined by dashed lines) with green-tinted descendants. Scientists learned that this change naturally occurs more often than they thought. (Credit: Greg Sibbel and Jason Mills)
Stange DE, Koo BK, Huch M, Sibbel G, Basak O, Lyubimova A, Kujala P, Bartfeldt S, Koster J, Geahlen JH, Peters PJ, van Ese JH, van de Wetering M, Mills JC, Clevers H. Differentiated Troy chief cells act as ‘reserve’ stem cells to generate all lineages of the stomach epithelium. Cell, October 2013