Turning Skin Cells into Limb Cells Sets Stage for Regenerative Therapy

Study marks stepping stone towards the long-term goal of regenerating human limbs after amputation.

Dr.Atsuta and colleagues confirmed that the fibroblasts were successfully reprogrammed into cells that can produce limb tissue. They detected three important proteins found in natural limb progenitor cells, marking the proteins in three different colors: white, magenta, and green. (Credit: Yuji Atsuta).
In a collaborative study, researchers from Kyushu University and Harvard Medical School have identified proteins that can turn or “reprogram” fibroblasts — the most commonly found cells in skin and connective tissue — into cells with similar properties to limb progenitor cells. Published February 5, 2024 in Developmental Cell, the researchers’ findings have enhanced our understanding of limb development and have set the stage for regenerative therapy in the future. The article is titled “Direct Reprogramming of Non-Limb Fibroblasts to Cells with Properties of Limb Progenitors.”
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