A group of researchers have found a group of stem cells which have the ability to generate new bone. They live along the vascular channels that reach across bone and connect the inner and outer parts of the bone.
This new discovery is of perivascular cells which reside within the bone itself. They can promote new bone forming cells, and these cells likely regulate the formation of bone or participate in bone mass repair and maintenance.
It has long been thought that stem cells for bone occur within bone marrow and the outer surfaces of bone. Recent research has found the existence of a network of vascular channels that assisted in distributing blood cells out of bone marrow. However, no studies have proven that the cells within these channels have the ability to form new bone.
In the recent study, this team has been the first reporting the existence of these progenitor cells within cortical bone that can generate new osteoblasts or new bone forming cells and can be used to remodel bone. The team looked at the stem cells within an ex vivo bone transplantation model. The cells migrated out of the transplant and began to reconstruct the bone marrow cavity and begin forming new bone.
Although the study shows this population of cells which can help aid formation of bone, more research is needed to determine the cell’s potential to regulate bone resorption and formation.
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Perivascular osteoprogenitors are associated with transcortical channels of long bones.