Pluripotent stem cells can differentiate into every type of cell that makes up the various tissues of the body, such as bone, cartilage and neurons. These cells are a promising source of so-called ‘regenerative’ medicine for currently incurable diseases.
Atmospheric-pressure plasma (APP) irradiation is currently used for many therapies such as angiogenesis (the creation of new blood vessels), wound healing, and tumor elimination. Researchers at Soka University and Osaka University in Japan claim to have demonstrated for the first time that low-temperature APP irradiation affects the differentiation of mouse embryonic stem cells (ESCs) through the regulation of signaling pathways. Their findings suggest that APP irradiation has the potential to serve as a tool of regenerative medicine. The study also provides insight into a molecular mechanism underlying the effects of plasma-irradiation in vivo.
Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) generated by the irradiation enhanced differentiation into different types of stem cell: epiblast, ectodermal, and neuronal lineages. The H2O2 activates fibroblast growth factor 4 (FGF4) signaling. The differentiation to glial (non-neuronal) cells was not affected.
In contrast, APP irradiation inhibits the differentiation to mesoderm and endoderm cells (the middle and inner layers of an embryo respectively) by inhibiting a process called ‘wingless-related integration site (Wnt) signaling’. These effects are specific to APP irradiation rather than to the generated H2O2.
Taichi Miura from the Department of Bioinformatics at Soka University said, “Many signaling pathways in differentiation are conserved across species. Therefore, we expect that APP irradiation can control the differentiation of human pluripotent stem cells via regulation of signaling pathways. We also expect that incurable disease could be cured by regenerative medicine using plasma-irradiation.”
You can read the full article in Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics.
You may also be interested in our latest special issue on plasma medicine, available here.
About the authors
Taichi Miura is a Ph.D. course student at the Department of Bioinformatics, Graduate School of Engineering, Soka University, Japan. His particular research interests are focused on (1) the biological functions of glycosylation in pluripotent stem cells, (2) the regulatory mechanism of signaling pathway in pluripotent stem cells, and (3) the effects of APP irradiation to the pluripotent stem cells.
Satoshi Hamaguchi received his PhD from Department of Physics, Graduate School of Science, Tokyo University in 1987 and then also received his PhD from Department of Mathematics, Graduate School of Arts and Science, New York University in 1988. He is now a professor in the Center for Atomic and Molecular Technologies, Graduate School of Engineering, Osaka University, Japan. He is an expert in nuclear fusion, plasma science and quantum electronics.
Shoko Nishihara received her PhD from Department of Chemistry, Graduate School of Science, Tokyo University in 1982. She is now a professor in the Department of Bioinformatics, Graduate School of Engineering, Soka University, Japan. Research projects within her group are focused on (1) analysis of glycan functions in ES cells, (2) functional analysis of glycan using Drosophila model system, (3) functional analysis of sugar-nucleotide transporter families including PAPS transporters, and (4) Effect of APP irradiation to cells.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. Homepage image credit: Joseph Elsbernd, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License. Figure taken from Taichi Miura et al 2016 J. Phys. D: Appl. Phys. 49 165401 © IOP Publishing. Group images © Taichi Miura.
Categories: Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics