The regeneration of tissues and organs is a major cognitive and medical challenge. Our goal is to understand some of the underlying mechanisms to improve / restore regenerative capacity in the adult mammals.
In adult animals, the maintenance of tissue integrity is enabled by a basal and permanent cell turnover. This turn-over is activated following tissue injury and is naturally impaired during aging that causes progressive degeneration of functional tissues and organs that appears irreversible. However, recent findings show that both regeneration of a complex organ and aging may be reversible including in adult mammals.
Whatever the tissue, its integrity as well as its recovery following an injury involve several determinants including an essential local actor: the stroma. The importance of the stroma has been demonstrated through the work on normal and pathological hematopoiesis.This stroma can be described as a functional identity generically containing adult stem cells, i.e. mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) that combine stemness and supportive functions.
The objective of our institute is to understand and decipher how stromal cells and particularly the MSC, one of the most known adult stem cells and already used in regenerative medicine, are involved in tissue homeostasis and promote repair / regeneration processes. We are particularly interested in the stroma and its cellular components in the bone marrow and adipose tissues. Bone marrow is one of the best known tissues and can be considered as a tissue model. Adipose tissues, well-known for their involvement in obesity and metabolic diseases, have been used in restorative and reconstructive medicine for long time. Many studies including ours have shown that adipose tissues contained a very large population of mesenchymal cells, called ASC, comparable to MSC. Indeed, we were among the first in the world to describe the angiogenic potential of ASC, to adapt to their culture process for therapeutic uses and to test their potential in a therapeutic trial.
Our aims are:
- identify and characterize subsets of stem or stromal cells present in the stroma,
- better characterize and compare the features of native and cultivated MSC under physiological or pathological conditions characterized by a breakdown in tissue homeostasis,
- Examine how these tissues can be used as physiological reservoirs of adult stem regenerative cells,
- Study the therapeutic uses of MSC/ASC in regenerative medicine.