Spleen turned the liver inside a living mouse

Chinese biologists have developed a method that allows you to transform one body into another, that is, to raise the liver on the frame of the spleen. For this source the spleen needed to process the extract of the tumor to suppress the immune response and cause an increase of the intercellular substance. After that, it hoisted the liver cells, which are caught in and formed a characteristic of the liver structure. Transformed spleen turned out to be a good replacement — at least, the animals survived after the original liver is removed almost completely. Work published in the journal Science Advances.

The easiest way to cope with failure of the liver transplant patient new. However, not always been able to find a donor, and the organ after the transplant might not take root or did not earn to the full. And the main obstacle here — in the vessels of the donor organ has to match different outgoing vessels and channels, otherwise it will be useless. The same problem arises with artificial bodies — the attempts to grow them in vitro are divided about the need to restore fully the bloodstream inside the body.

A group of biologists under the leadership of lei Tung (Lei Dong) from Nanjing University proposed an alternative approach to the problem: to grow a new organ inside the patient’s body. A vascular scaffold, according to their idea, it is possible to borrow from some other body that isn’t vital. In the case of the liver this body could be a spleen: it’s pretty big, well supplied with blood, but not critical. People with a remote spleen do not suffer from serious illnesses, so it could be sacrificed in favor of the liver.

To begin with, the researchers moved the spleen of experimental animals under the skin — it’s easier to monitor its status. They checked that after you move the on retained its size and morphology, and its cells have produced a standard set of proteins of the spleen.

Then began the first stage of transformation of the spleen. That it was able to grow a full liver, it was necessary to prepare it: to reduce the activity of the immune system and allow newcomers the cells to divide. To do this, the authors decided to treat the spleen extract from a mouse tumor. They tested the effect of four extracts of: melanoma, sarcoma, liver cancer and breast cancer. It turned out that the extract of sarcoma heaviest increases in the spleen the expression of collagen (a protein of the intercellular substance necessary to build the liver) and anti-inflammatory interleukin-10. So next the researchers worked with this extract.

Biologists have discovered that under the effect of an extract of sarcoma of the spleen under the skin of mice strongly grows and begins to weigh almost two times more than usual. It changes the expression of 4800 genes, becomes smaller clusters of cells and more intercellular substance. Thus on the health of the mice themselves and the work of other bodies this transformation, according to the authors, had no effect.

In the second stage of transformation, the spleen had to populate the cells of the liver. The researchers tested four types of cells: own the liver cells and mouse liver cells of the other mice, human liver cells, and liver cells grown from reprogramming of human cells. They all engrafted in the spleen after treatment with extract of the tumor and remained there for two weeks after the extract ceased to enter (and their own liver cells remained in the spleen for even longer). Thus mouse liver cells were able to take a significant part of the body to form characteristic of liver structures, including bile ducts.

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