Researchers take 1st step in developing artificial adrenal glands

Twitter icon
Facebook icon
LinkedIn icon
e-mail icon
Google icon

Researchers from Queen Mary University of London have reprogrammed cells from urine to produce artificial adrenal glands, according to a study published in Cell Reports.

"It is a first step in generating an artificial adrenal gland which would benefit all patients with adrenal insufficiency,” said first author Leonardo Guasti from Queen Mary's William Harvey Research Institute. “Regenerative medicine application for adrenal disorders have been neglected compared to other endocrine fields, such as the word-wide effort to generate functional endocrine pancreas to cure type-I diabetes. This study closes this gap."

In the study, researchers explained a process of reprogramming human inducible steroidogenic cells (hiSCs) from skin and urine to model adrenal diseases. They then provided the cells with a platform to test interventions of personalized treatments. The steroid profile of hiSCs taken from patients with monogenic adrenal disorder (congenital adrenal hyperplasia) was altered to keep their profile at diagnoses. When non-altered genes were re-introduced to the altered hiSCs, steroid levels went back to normal.

"It represents an entirely new concept for the study of the adrenal gland as the ability to generate donor-specific and functional adrenal-like cells will facilitate the next generation of cell-based treatments for adrenal insufficiency, the modelling of adrenal specific diseases, and the testing of personalized interventions on cells derived from patients,” added Guasti.