Cell-to-cell communication is essential to maintain countless functions in the body as well as preparing responses to external cues. Until now, technology has only allowed broad snapshots of the language of communication between cells, often missing the complexity of the messaging involved.
“This is akin to detecting what words were spoken in a sentence, but not really knowing their placement, the inflection, and tone of the message,” commented first author Kshitiz.
Researchers have developed a platform to record cell messages in-depth by using a combination of microfluidics and computer modeling, uncovering the precise ways in which messages are arranged in these intercellular conversations.
In the study, the team focused on stem cells from bone marrow that can be used to treat myocardial infarction. Using the new technology, the researchers recorded the proteins that were secreted by these stem cells and measured how these secretions changed with time.
Since the researchers recorded this information, they were able to copy the stem cells’ exact behavior, allowing for the creation of a protein cocktail that has the potential to aid an injury without the use of stem cells. The discovery of cell-less therapy can potentially reduce many complications associated with stem cell transplantation in the future.
“The findings solve a fundamental problem afflicting systems biology: measuring how cells communicate with each other,” concluded Yashir Suhail, a co-author on the study. “The platform technology will open new lines of inquiry into research, by providing a unique way to detect how cells talk to each other at a deeper level than what is possible today.”
Written By Joseph Martin
Updated 15 July, 2019
Source Kshitiz, Ellison DD, Suhail Y et al. Dynamic secretome of bone marrow-derived stromal cells reveals a cardioprotective biochemical cocktail. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A. 201902598 (2019). https://today.uconn.edu/2019/06/tapping-way-cells-communicate/