- UK-based researchers have found that stem cells harvested from pregnant woman’s amniotic fluid can be used to strengthen weak bones.
- Amniotic fluid is the protective fluid that surrounds baby in the uterus and helps it to develop inside the mother’s womb.
- It also contains stem cells that are the building blocks of other tissues.
- Bones are constantly formed in body with cells called osteoclasts which break down old bone and form new bones.
- However, incase due to brittle bone disease, osteoporosis process becomes lazy leading to fracture bones.
- The researchers collected the amniotic stem cells from material left over from screening tests during pregnancy.
- Then they injected these cells into diseased mice having fractured bones due to brittle bone disease (a genetic disorder that results in fragile bones that break easily).
- It was found that mice injected with these cells have 78% fewer fractures.
- Thus, the amniotic stem cells can be used to improve strength, plasticity, and structure of bones.
Potential Application: This discovery can help treat astronauts who lose bone mass in space. It is said that astronauts can lose 2.5% of their bone density for every month in space. It can also help babies with genetic diseases and elderly people.