Ann Conkle
Mar 12, 2012

Insulin and nutrition prevent blood stem cell differentiation

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) stem cell researchers have shown that insulin and nutrition keep blood stem cells from differentiating into mature blood cells in Drosophila, the common fruit fly, a finding that has implications for studying inflamation and blood development in humans. The study found that the blood stem cells are receiving signals from insulin and nutritional molecules, in this case essential amino acids, that helped them to maintain their "stemness," said study senior author Utpal Banerjee, a researcher with the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine at UCLA. "We expect that this study will promote further investigation of possible direct signal sensing mechanisms by mammalian blood stem cells," Banerjee said. "Such studies will probably yield insights into chronic inflammation and the myeloid cell accumulation seen in patients with type II diabetes and other metabolic disorders."