News archive

Until now, it was difficult to artificially create small and complex blood vessels which have to supply nutrients to tissues or tissue-engineered organs. Now, with the Rapid Prototyping method these delicate and complex 3-dimensional models can be produced.

British researchers from Edinburgh under the direction of Tilo Kunath have bred iPS cells – so-called induced pluripotent stem cells - from skin cells of a female patient who suffers from a hereditary form of Parkinsons disease. From these iPS cells they developed dopamine producing nerve cells which showed characteristics of diseased brain cells.

A lung model based on human lung cells and using the Air Liquid Interface (ALI) technique has been tested independently in four German test laboratories. They achieved good and reproducible results which is a first step towards the development of an in vitro replacement method for testing the cytotoxic effects of gases.

Journal of Failed Experiment Results

Sunday, 14 August 2011 20:46

A new innovative journal make it possible to publish unsuccessful experimental results or results which are not accepted by established scientific magazines.

With the development of astrocytes from embryonic stem cells the basis is laid for the development of cell-based in vitro tests and analysis methods which allow investigation of the effects of toxic substances on the brain.

In the context of his dissertation work at the Doerenkamp-Zbinden chair of Prof. Dr. Marcel Leist, University of Constance, Philipp Kügler successfully generated astrocytes from embryonic stem cells. The glial cells in the central nervous system are mainly made up of astrocytes, whose name derives from the shape of their cell type which is like a branched star. The prospective use of astrocytes in in vitro neurotoxicology is meaningful primarily because microglial cells gained from mammals have been used until now. These microglial cells serve as an active immune defence in the nervous system whereas astrocytes do not have this function.

One of the main functions of astrocytes is supplying neurons with energy taken from blood capillaries and, further, they can transform themselves into neurons if required. They have a decisive influence on the brain´s neurons. Without astrocytes, neurons would create meaningless synapses. For this reason it is important to investigate the effects of toxic substances on astrocytes separately.

In his research, Kügler has already shown that astrocyt testing is an important aspect in measuring the effects of substances on the brain.

The junior researcher also succeeded in obtaining a pure astrocyte cell culture without the disturbing influence of other cell types like microglial cells.

More information:

Universität Konstanz
Kommunikation und Marketing
78457 Konstanz
Telefon: 07531 / 88-3603
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Philipp Kügler
Universität Konstanz
Graduiertenschule Chemische Biologie
78457 Konstanz
Telefon: 07531 / 88-5074
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Genotype of CHO Cells Sequenced

Friday, 12 August 2011 20:21

In the 1960s CHO cells from the ovaries of the Chinese hamster were isolated and cultivated. These cell cultures are important production strains for the pharmaceutical industry. Now, for the first time, the genotype of a CHO strain has been sequenced.

Researchers from the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Genetics have discovered that mutations occur in the iPS cell´s genome during re-programming of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS). Mitochondria are particular affected by this.

Harmful reproductive toxicology experiments must no longer be performed on two animal generations.

Toxoplasma gondii can induce toxoplasmosis in humans. In a completed study funded by the Swiss Foundation 3r, scientists from the Pasteur Institute, Brussels, have developed a method by which they can test the virulence of Toxoplasma gondii in vitro.

The Clinical Research Laboratory of the Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery at the University Hospital Tübingen and the Interfaculty Centre for Pharmacogenomics and Pharma Research are amongst this year’s prize winners in the German nationwide competition “365 Landmarks in the Land of Ideas”. The lab’s three award recipients, Prof. Dr. Albrecht Wendel (inventor of the innovative method), Prof. Dr. Hans Peter Wendel and Dr. Stefan Fennrich, were awarded the prize in recognition of their development of the in vitro pyrogen test “PyroDetect”.