Research ArticleBONE REPAIR

Pharmacological rescue of diabetic skeletal stem cell niches

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Science Translational Medicine  11 Jan 2017:
Vol. 9, Issue 372, eaag2809
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aag2809

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Stem cells: The key to boosting bone healing in diabetes

Among a myriad of difficulties, people with diabetes have problems with their bones; after a break, their bones do not heal well. Tevlin et al. use mice to investigate the cause and to devise a solution. In several models of diabetes, skeletal stem cells, which normally multiply to repair a bone injury, failed to do so. The high blood concentrations of TNFα in these diabetic mice inhibited a growth factor within the stem cell niche. The authors succeeded in reversing this deficit; delivery of the missing factor directly to the niche restored the expansion of stem cells after injury and normalized bone healing. Correction of the inhospitable niche environment for skeletal stem cells is a promising approach for this complication of diabetes and perhaps for other stem cell–based diseases.