Pluripotent stem cells generated from horses


February 28, 2011

Scientists from have generated pluripotent stem cells from horses for the first time (Photo: Haflingermaus)

Scientists from have generated pluripotent stem cells from horses for the first time (Photo: Haflingermaus)

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For the first time ever, scientists from the University of Montreal and Mount Sinai Hospital have generated pluripotent stem cells from horses. Pluripotency refers to a cell's ability to become any of the various other types of cells found within the body, and the ability to be able to grow such cells in a laboratory setting has great implications for the field of regenerative medicine. Not only does this latest accomplishment potentially mean big things for sick or injured horses, but it could also pave the way for lab-based human stem cell treatments.

The researchers spent two months reprogramming equine somatic cells. When they were finished, the resulting induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cell lines contained a complete set of horse chromosomes, and were able to form a complete spectrum of cell types and tissues.

"Equine iPS cells bring new therapeutic potential to the veterinary field, and open up the opportunity to validate stem-cell based therapies before clinical studies in humans," said study co-leader Dr. Andras Nagy, of the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute at Mount Sinai. "As well, stem-cell based studies using the horse as a model more closely replicate human illnesses, when compared with studies in mice."

"The horse is an excellent model for a range of human degenerative diseases, especially those involving joints, bones, tendons and ligaments, such as arthritis," added Dr. Sheila Laverty, a professor in the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at U Montreal. "Bone fracture, as well as damaged cartilage, tendons and ligaments heal poorly in horses. Therefore, the use of iPS cells in these animals may help enhance long-term tissue repair."

The University of Montreal's Dr. Lawrence Smith was the other leader of the study.

The research was published today in the journal Stem Cell Reviews and Reports.

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away. All articles by Ben Coxworth
1 Comment

Another adult (Somatic) stem cell breakthrough. This will put adult stem cell work into hundreds of veterinary clinics and further invalidate the barriers to adult stem cell work put in place by the embryonic stem cell lobby.

Wesley Bruce
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