Stem Cell Technology: Hypoxia and Its Contributions to Regenerative Medicine

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Stem cell technology is developing rapidly to bring tissue and organ regeneration from the foreground of current research to the hands of physicians for therapeutic interventions of injuries. Though this field is rapidly progressing, several limiting factors have reduced the efficacy and survival of many transplanted cells. To understand the limitations, a deeper understanding of the chemo–mechanical environment of an injury is needed. Tissue and organ development from specific progenitor cells is tightly controlled by the surrounding biochemical environment. Specifically, oxygen tension, otherwise known as the partial pressure of oxygen, is one of many critical factors playing into the differentiation process of cells into specific tissues. There is a delicate balance between hypoxia (a result of low oxygen tension) and normoxia through the cell life cycle, and this balance varies depending on the biological micro niche in which it resides. Tissue injuries are often accompanied by regions of ischaemia which have proved to negatively influence the survival of transplanted stem cells. This has brought about important adaptations in ex vivo tissue expansion protocol as well as in vivo injury therapies like transplantation of cardiac cells into the hypoxic environment of a recent myocardial infarction or other regions of ischaemic attacks. This review will present the progress of current knowledge on the role of oxygen tension in organogenesis and the significant clinical applications within stem cell therapies. Previously, it has been reported that stem cell fate differs with various oxygen tensions depending on lineage. Here, we first look into the initial uncertainty of the effects of hypoxia and stem cell fate as rep...

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...ndrial respiration and biogenesis, glycolysis, cell proliferation, and cell apoptosis (6). Though hypoxic conditions have been shown to fairly effective at preventing apoptosis and ensuring cell survival after graft, the future of preconditioning lies in pharmaceutical approaches to mimic hypoxic conditions. though Cobalt has this effect, it is toxic to the organic body. This has prompted research into other pharmaceuticals to have a similar and safer effect. Perhaps genetic therapy to induce expression of factors relevant to hypoxic environment is a potential means of preconditioning. Investigation into every aspect which promotes stem cell transplant survival will contribute to the reality of regenerative medicine in clinical applications.


6. Tsai YP, Wu KJ. Hypoxia-regulated target genes implicated in tumor metastasis. J Biomed Sci. 2012;20:102.

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