EQUUS - - Eq Medical -

A lig­a­ment within the horse’s mouth could be a good source of stem cells that can sup­port heal­ing in ten­dons through­out his body, ac­cord­ing to a study from Ger­many.

Un­dif­fer­en­ti­ated cells that can de­velop into many dif­fer­ent types of cells, stem cells are used in re­gen­er­a­tive ther­a­pies, which seek to pro­mote the body’s own abil­ity to heal. For these ther­a­pies, stem cells are in­jected into a dam­aged area in the hopes the body will uti­lize them for re­pairs.

So far, stem cells de­rived from bone mar­row or adi­pose (fat) tis­sue have been used. To find a cell source sim­i­lar to ten­don tis­sue, re­searchers have been con­sid­er­ing al­ter­na­tives, in­clud­ing the pe­ri­odon­tal lig­a­ment (PDL), which an­chors a horse’s teeth to his jaws. Like ten­don tis­sues, the PDL must have the strength to with­stand

shear­ing forces but it must also con­tin­u­ally adapt as the horse’s teeth erupt over his life­time.

To de­ter­mine whether this adap­tive qual­ity would make the PDL a good source of stem cells for re­gen­er­a­tive ten­don ther­a­pies, re­searchers at Jus­tus Liebig Uni­ver­sity in Giessen col­lected PDL cell sam­ples from seven ma­ture horses. They also col­lected ten­don cell sam­ples from four ma­ture horses and five foals.

They then an­a­lyzed the gene ex­pres­sions in all the sam­ples, look­ing for qual­i­ties in­dica­tive of util­ity for re­gen­er­a­tive ther­a­pies. They dis­cov­ered the ma­ture PDL cells pro­duced sig­nif­i­cantly more col­la­gen and had higher turnover rates---the speed with which cells die and are re­placed---than did ma­ture ten­don cells. In ad­di­tion, the PDLs were found to con­tain sim­i­lar lev­els of scle­r­axis, which fre­quently oc­cur in ten­don tis­sues.

Based on these find­ings, the re­searchers call for fur­ther ex­per­i­ments fo­cus­ing on the pos­si­ble use of equine PDL cells for stem cell-based re­gen­er­a­tive ther­a­pies.

Ref­er­ence: “Molec­u­lar char­ac­ter­is­tics of the equine pe­ri­odon­tal lig­a­ment,” Fron­tiers in Vet­eri­nary Sci­ence, Jan­uary 2018


The pe­ri­odon­tal lig­a­ment (PDL) an­chors a horse’s teeth to his jaws.

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