In a recent study, researchers from Duke University Medical Center have been able to identify a youth factor in stem cells of bone marrow that can have a rejuvenating effect on tissues. Though painful, recovering from a broken bone is typically short-lived for a child. However, for an older person, it could possibly last longer or even be a life-threatening process.
Researcher around the world have been making efforts to find ways to stimulate bone repair that could save lives as well as health care expenses. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, around 800,000 patients in a year are hospitalized due to fall injuries such as broken hips, and the hospitalizations cost approximately $30,000.
In an earlier study, Duke Health researchers have shown that introducing the stem cells of bone marrow in a fractured bone can accelerate healing, but were not able to demonstrate the exact process.
The same group of researchers now believe they have detected the youth factor within bone marrow stem cells. It is a white blood cell (WBC) type or macrophage and its secreted proteins can have rejuvenating effect on tissue, according to the researchers whose findings were published in the recent issue of journal Nature Communications.
In response to a tissue injury, body releases WBCs to the injured areas, where they undergo functional changes to facilitate tissue repair. These cells are found at the fracture site during fracture healing.Depletion of macrophages may slow down the healing process or the fracture will not heal effectively.
The researchers have found that young macrophage cells delivers factors leading to bone formation and when introduced to older mice,quickens fracture healing. Though macrophages are known to play vital role in repair and regeneration, previous studies have not detected the secreted factors favoring the effect, Benjamin Alman M.D, Chair of Duke’s Department of Orthopedic Surgery. Now, it is discovered that introduction of young macrophages cells into a fracture in old mice stimulates the repair pace,suggesting a potential therapeutic approach to fracture rejuvenation, he added.