Pulmonary Fibrosis is a potentially life-threatening condition caused by scarring of the lungs. It leads to a variety of dangerous complications including lung cancer, pulmonary hypertensions, pneumothorax, and respiratory failure.
A new study suggests that pulmonary fibrosis could be treated with umbilical cord stem cells. The study, titled “Extracellular vesicles derived from umbilical cord mesenchymal stromal cells alleviate pulmonary fibrosis by means of transforming growth factor-β signaling inhibition” was recently published in Stem Cell Research & Therapy.
Researchers have discovered that the lung scarring associated with pulmonary fibrosis occurs because of excessive formation of extracellular matrix components, including collagen.
The scientists decided to test the capacity of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) to treat the condition as MSCs have proven anti-fibrotic properties. They believe that MSCs work in this way because they can produce tiny particles called extracellular vesicles which alter cell function in a positive way.
The Chinese research team derived extracellular vesicles from umbilical cord-derived MSCs in order to target TGF-beta signalling pathway and block lung fibrosis. They tested the treatment in a mouse model of pulmonary fibrosis.
They found that the umbilical cord-derived MSCs produced cells with better proliferation and differentiation abilities compared to MSCs from other sources.
As the researchers wrote: “MSCs are usually obtained from the adult bone marrow, umbilical cord blood, adipose tissue, and placenta. However, the differentiation potential of MSCs decreases as the donor’s age increases, limiting their applications. Umbilical cord-derived MSCs (uMSCs) have high cell differentiation abilities and thus are preferred for transplantation in this regard.”
The findings make researchers believe that the umbilical cord blood stem cells may play a critical role in treating this pulmonary fibrosis in the future.
Source: Umbilical Cord Stem Cells Hold Potential in PF Treatment