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Stem Cell Aging

Smelling The Smelly Smells That Are Lost

3 months, 3 weeks ago

2200  0
Posted on Feb 22, 2018, 7 p.m.

Dr. James E. Schwob is heading up a team of researchers at Tuffs University
School of Medicine studying the behaviour of adult stem cells in the context of
the loss of smell associated with aging.


Dr. James E. Schwob is heading up a team of researchers at Tuffs University
School of Medicine studying the behavior of adult stem cells in the context of
the loss of smell associated with aging. The purpose of the research is to
enlarge the population of stem cells that maintains the sense of smell in adults
that deteriorates with age.

The loss of smell may come as a result of medication, injury, illness, or aging,
either way it affects the sense of taste. If the sense of smell is working
properly it works with and combines with the sense of taste to communicate
flavours of food. Smell loss compromises nutritional status, reduces the
quality of life, and puts the health and safety of the elderly at risk.

Cell Stem Cell recently published a study that provides evidence suggesting
that it is possible to regenerate nasal tissue stem cells in mice, increasing the
population of adult stem cells.

Stems cells are specialized and able to generate numerous different types
of cells. Adult stem cells have limited potency, while embryonic have possibly
no limits to any kind of cell found in the body. Adult stems cells maintain the
tissue in which they are found and repair after injury. There is evidence to
support that as a natural healing process adult stem cells in a response to
injury may be able to regenerate.

Taking advantage of that natural healing process, when researchers
transplanted regenerated adult stem cells from mice with injured nasal tissue
into other mice they were able to regenerate all of the different types of nasal
tissue. This reaction involved the Yamanaka factors, the strategy developed
by Schwob and his team is less complicated and more efficient. The team
observed that only 2 of 4 factors from Yamanaka factors reprogrammed adult
stem cells were crucial in the process of pushing olfactory cells into becoming
stem cell like.

Direct restoration of the stem cells has several implications for various kinds
of degeneration that is associated with aging says Jim Schwob, M.D/Ph.D,adding                              that they are still several years away from developing therapies based
on his work.

He is hopeful that if they can restore and regenerate the
population of stem cells in the olfactory epithelium by administering the right
drug or spray, that they may possibly be able to prevent the deterioration of
the sense of smell, which may hinder the quality of life.

Story Source:
Tufts University, Health Sciences Campus.
Note: Content may be edited for style and length.
Journal Reference:
1. Brian Lin, Julie H. Coleman, Jesse N. Peterson, Matthew J. Zunitch, Woochan Jang,
Daniel B. Herrick, James E. Schwob. Injury Induces Endogenous Reprogramming and
Dedifferentiation of Neuronal Progenitors to Multipotency. Cell Stem Cell, 2017; DOI:

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