Current medical therapies fail to restore tissue damage due to degenerative conditions, normal aging processes, ischemia and traumatic injuries. Tissue regeneration and organ engineering have shown promise as novel treatment strategies for patients requiring tissue or whole organ replacement. Modern approaches to regenerative tissue therapies typically revolve around the use of stem cells.[i] The development of pluripotent stem cells has helped resolve the challenge of acquiring a reliable, implantable stem cell source without the deleterious immune responses triggered by non-autologous cells.
In spite of this breakthrough in stem cell technology, a great need still exists to optimize methods for implanting, organizing, differentiating, and integrating stem cells to reliably regenerate or replace damaged tissues.
So, the real question is, what peptide and stem cell combinations are showing the most promise. Well, there are plenty. But, we have done our best to compile a list of the top 3! Here they are:
- One of the most promising areas to target for the use of peptides and stem cells is with tissue generation. The ability for peptides to conjugate to different mesenchymal stem cells has shown to have an increased effect on the bodies ability to generate tissue that has been lost in diseases such as osteoarthritis. MSC affinity peptides can be used to construct cell-free scaffolds used to repair cartilage defects, where they recruit autologous MSCs. Ao et al. developed several MSC affinity peptides and used them to repair cartilage defects. E7 is a peptide screened by phage display with a high affinity towards bone marrow-derived MSCs. E7 was covalently conjugated onto polycaprolactone electrospun meshes to construct an “MSC-homing device”. This scaffold was implanted into a cartilage defect in a rat knee joint using a microfracture procedure. After 7 days, immunofluorescence staining revealed significantly more cells growing on this scaffold expressed MSC-specific surface markers than an RGD-conjugated scaffold.[ii]
- Osteoinduction of human bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells is initiated through local signals and growth factors. Cytomodulin-1 is a synthetic heptapeptide with functional similarities to members of the TGF-B super family. Cytomodulin-1 has been classified as a novel growth factor associated with inductions of MSCs. A study was done with Cytomodulin-1 to determine its effects on human MSCs and it was found that CM-1 was able to significantly stimulate alkaline phosphatase activity. Thus, there is strong indicated potential of using CM-1 as an osteogenic growth factor for skeletal tissue regeneration.[iii]
- Neural stem cells have been considered as a therapeutic option in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). However, their ability to be effective is hindered by the fact that their survival is relatively poor. However, peptides have been shown to be a great option in being adjunctive for things of this nature. Cerebrolysin, specifically, was investigated for its potential to keep neural stem cells alive, giving them the opportunity to show their therapeutic potential. It was found that when providing the treatments together, cerebrolysin significantly enhanced the survival of neural stem cells.[iv]
So, it is clear that providing stem cell therapies adjunctly with peptides shows incredible potential. Peptides have the ability to increase the functional properties of stem cells, while also maintaining their effects on different cells in the human body. It is an exciting time to be a part of this field of medicine and see where it can take the world!
[i] Tatman P; et al. Self-Assembling Peptides for Stem Cell and Tissue Engineering. Biomater Sci. 2016 Apr; 4(4): 543–554.
[ii] Liu Q; et al. Functional peptides for cartilage repair and regeneration. Am J Transl Res. 2018; 10(2): 501–510.
[iii] Amer D; et al. P113 The effect of cytomodulin-1 on the proliferation and ddifferentiationof human bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells. British orthopedic research society/bone research society. 21 Feb 2018.
[iv] Rockenstein; et al. Neuro-peptide treatment with Cerebrolysin improves the survival of neural stem cell grafts in an APP transgenic model of Alezheimer disease. Stem Cell Research, Volume 15, Issue 1, July 2015, Pages 54-67.