This way out: NC State researchers have discovered the process by which stem cells leave the bloodstream. With oversight by Dr. Ke Cheng, BME, a researcher team set out to identify how, exactly, stem cells exit the bloodstream when needed at a site of infection. Accepted wisdom suggested that stem cells behave similarly to white blood cells, modifying their shape to squeeze through the walls of the blood vessel. After using a zebrafish model to study the process, however, the team discovered that stem cells behave very differently than their infection-fighting cousins. In this new process dubbed “angiopellosis,” the stem cells are actually passive; endothelial cells that constitute the blood vessels are the dynamic participants that actively work to expel the stem cells in the correct location. Moreover, the team found that angiopellosis allowed for multiple cells to exit simultaneously, although the process took hours (as opposed to single cells and minutes, in the case of white blood cells). This discovery could have major implications for how we administer stem cell therapies, and could impact how we can fight similar cells, such as those found in metastatic cancers.
You can read more about the study from NC State News. The paper, published online in Stem Cells, was first authored by Tyler Allen and featured Dr. Ke Cheng as faculty author.