by Faiqa Masoodi
SRINAGAR: The researchers from Jamia Millia Islamia’s Multidisciplinary Centre for Advanced Research and Studies (MCARS) have developed therapeutic stem cells to treat lung diseases caused by allergic respiratory inflammation. Kashmir-born scientist, Dr Tanveer Ahmad led the group of researchers. The collaboration included Dr Shakti Sagar, presently working at UCSD in the USA, who was the lead author of the study.
The study found that stem cells obtained from healthy individuals can be genetically modulated to treat lung diseases. They discovered that a decrease in cardiolipin content in the energy-generating organelle mitochondria caused the stem cells to become dysfunctional and exhibit impaired metabolic fitness. To address this issue, the team identified a small molecule called Pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ) that could reverse the effect and restore metabolic activity to these stem cells.
The researchers introduced these stem cells into pre-clinical models and found that PQQ-modulated stem cells derived from patients or obese animals demonstrated better therapeutic efficacy in alleviating respiratory diseases like acute allergic airway inflammation.
Sources in Dr Tanveer’s Laboratory said that the work was conducted in close collaboration with Dr Soumya Sinha Roy’s group at CSIR-IGIB, and the original idea was conceived in Dr Anurag Agrawal’s lab at CSIR-IGIB.
The study, published in the peer-reviewed journal Cell Death and Disease (CDD) from the Nature Publishing Group, provides the first evidence, at the clinical and molecular level, of how obesity contributes to a decline in the therapeutic function of mesenchymal stem cells.
The researchers hope that their findings will help identify the molecular pathway and future development of therapies for the treatment of various metabolic and obesity-related diseases.
Dr Ahmad congratulated all the authors of the study and said that metabolic disorders and obesity-related complications have increased over the years, and this study paves the way towards dealing with such complications for a better and healthier life. He also highlighted the translational potential of mesenchymal stem cells and said that these cells have remarkable potential for the treatment of a wide range of human diseases.
Apart from Dr Tanveer Ahmad, the authors of the study included Dr Shakti Sagar, Md Imam Faizan, Nisha Chaudhary, Vandana Singh, Praveen Singh, Atish Gheware, Khushboo Sharma, Iqbal Azmi, Vijay Pal Singh, Gaurav Kharya (BMT Head, Apollo Hospital), Ulaganathan Mabalirajan, Anurag Agrawal (previously Director, CSIR-IGIB), and Soumya Sinha Roy. Dr Shakti Sagar is the first author of the paper.
Dr Tanveer’s laboratory at Multidisciplinary Centre for Advanced Research and Studies has done a series of pathbreaking discoveries during and after the Covid19 pandemic. It developing an optogenetic tool that can help understand a basket of brain disorders.