The process of formation of red blood cells from haematopoietic stem cells (HSC) in vitro can be accelerated by 3 days in presence of low concentrations of transforming growth factor β1 (TGF-β1), finds new research published in the journal, Stem Cell Research and Therapy.
The team led by Dr L S Limaye, ex-scientist at the Department of Biotechnology’s National Centre for Cell Science (NCCS) Pune, found that using a low concentration of TGF-β1 (10 pg/ml) along with the hormone erythropoietin (EPO) (3 IU/ml) in the growth medium, accelerated the process of erythropoiesis.
TGF-β1 is a small protein molecule that is involved in various cellular functions, including the control of cell growth, cell proliferation, cell differentiation, and apoptosis.
Hematopoietic stem cells (HSC) have the capability to differentiate into different types of cells found in the blood. These cells can be differentiated in vitro to form RBCs, however, the process takes a long duration of 21 days.
By using the new method researchers reported that the RBC formation was reduced by three days and thereby formed cells were also found to be healthy and normal in their characteristics upon evaluation.
The team noted that a low concentration of TGF-β1 did not show any inhibitory effect on the proliferation during the early stages of erythropoiesis. Additionally, it was also found that the process significantly accelerated the terminal stages of erythroid differentiation by promoting BNIP3L/NIX-mediated mitophagy.
Additional investigations based on the insights gained from these studies could help assess the relevance of using this approach for blood transfusions in the future, noted the researchers.