Stem Cells Play Minor Role in Lung Damage Repair

It may still be possible to make the idea work, researcher suggests

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WEDNESDAY, Aug. 3, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- Circulating stem cells play only a minor role in the repair of lung damage caused by infections, ischemia and rejection of transplanted lungs, according to researchers who analyzed tissue samples from the lungs of five male lung transplant patients who received lungs from female donors.

The research team from the University of Texas Medical School at Houston and the University of Florida College of Medicine found that less than 1 percent of type II pneumocyte stem cells originated in the bone marrow of the lung transplant recipients.

Type II pneumocytes are stem cells involved in lung repair. The investigators found that the donor lungs came with their own type II pneumocytes.

"It's possible in the future that circulating stem cells could be augmented to play a greater role in lung repair -- and people are looking at ways to do that. We found that the bulk of stem cell contribution to the repair process belongs to those stem cells normally found in the lungs rather than to circulating stem cells," study author Dr. Dani Zander, vice chair of pathology and laboratory medicine at the University of Texas Medical School, said in a prepared statement.

The study appears in the current issue of the journal Transplantation.

More information

The U.S. National Institutes of Health has more about stem cells.

SOURCE: University of Texas, news release, July 27, 2005

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