A research group at Lund University in Sweden has been able to show that bile acid is transferred from the mother to the foetus via the placenta to enable the foetus to produce blood stem cells.
Researchers have not yet managed to get the blood-forming stem cells to produce new stem and blood cells in a laboratory. The problem with making blood stem cells proliferate outside the body is that the artificial growth gives rise to an accumulation of abnormal proteins in a part of the cell called the endoplasmic reticulum, ER. Among other things, this so-called ER stress, if the stress is severe and chronic, cause cell death.
Kenichi Miharada, researcher at the Department of Laboratory Medicine, has previously shown that it is possible to reduce ER stress chemically by adding bile acids to the cell culture. Bile acids, which are produced naturally in the liver and stored in the gallbladder, support the protein production during the cell division process.
Pregnant mother protects growing blood stem cells in the liver of fetus by transporting bile acid
Image: Lund University