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CBNU’s Breaking Duck for Ever-Young Life 

proffice (proffice) 2016/10/12 10:42:29
CBNU’s Breaking Duck for Ever-Young Life


A CBNU research team of Professors Jeong-Chae Lee and Eui-Sic Cho has been in the spotlight recently for determining the mechanism of activation and maintenance of hematopoietic stem cells. Opening up a new possibility for prolonging and quality boosting of human life, the research outcome was published in June 2016 in Leukemia, the world-renown journal in hematology.


Hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) is one of major components in blood formation that latently differentiates, existing predominantly in the bone marrow as well as in peripheral blood and in cord blood of newborn infants. HSCs are grafted to patients suffering from leukemias, for example aplastic anemia, as the cells clone themselves.


The team proved for the first time in the world that microenvironment in the bone marrow is a crucial factor in functional maintenance of HSCs. In particular, maturation stage of osteoblasts (OBs, cells with single nucleus that synthesize bone) exerts a differential impact on functional maintenance of the stem cells.


Inside the bone marrow of human body, HSCs that form blood and OBs that build bones provide blood cells if needed, evenly ranging in vascular niches. Through gene targeting in mice, the team discovered that, when removed, Smad4 in mature OBs kills HSCs, while in immature OBs ages the stem cells. Smad4 is a transcription factor known to control differentiation of osteoblasts, induced by bone morphogenic protein (BMP) and transforming growth factor beta (TGF-β).


This breakthrough discovery explains that regulating differentiation of OBs influences HSCs’ functional maintenance and induction of activation. It is expected to prevent immunocompromise (weakening of immune system) due to aging, to provide target gene(s) for senescence inhibition (restraining aging) of HSCs and to help development of new medicine.


“My team’s research explicated the impact of maturation stage of osteoblast in the bone marrow on senescence or apoptosis-inducing of hematopoietic stem cells,” said Professor Jeong-Chae Lee, in a statement. “It will contribute to research and development for new technologies of restraining immunosenescence (attenuation of specific and segmented immune system against internal and external hazards) as well as activation and function maintenance of the HSCs.”


This research was made possible by the support from Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning with the participation of Doctors Sung-Ho Kook, Chi-Young Yun, Hyeon-Jeong Sim, Govinda Bhattarai, Byung-Chul Lee, Kyung-Yeol Lee in correspondence with Professors Eui-Sic Cho and Jeong-Chae Lee.



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