December 24, 2012 Technion Researchers Discovered Embryonic Stem Cells that May be a Suitable Substitute for Human Eggs

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Cells in the fetal Amnion membrane, which make up part of the amniotic sac, and protects the fetus throughout the pregnancy period, may be a new source for human eggs
Cells in the fetal Amnion membrane, which make up part of the amniotic sac, and protects the fetus throughout the pregnancy period, may be a new source for human eggs

December 24, 2012

Cells in the fetal Amnion membrane, which make up part of the amniotic sac, and protects  the fetus throughout the pregnancy period, may be a new source for human eggs Technion researchers from the Bruce and Ruth Rappaport Faculty of Medicine found that cells in the fetal Amnion membrane may be a source of human eggs, according  to dissertation of doctoral student Ayelet Evron mentored by the Dean of the Faculty,  Professor Eliezer Shalev.

Amnion membranes constitute a part of the inner layer of the amniotic sac, which  protects the fetus throughout the pregnancy period. Typically, upon being ruptured  during the birth, directly after birth both the expelled placenta and membranes get  thrown out.

Amnion membrane cells develop at the very early stages of the life of the fetus (on the  eighth day after fertilization) and are known to maintain the plasticity of embryonic cells  prior to cellular differentiation. These cells have the potential of joining any one of the  cell groups that later develop into different tissues in the body. To date, the capability of  Amnion membrane cells to differentiate into germ cells with specific gene markers that  develop into human eggs, has never been documented.

The research work was undertaken in collaboration with Dr. Shlomit Goldman at the  research laboratory of Women’s Division of Gynecology and Obstetrics in the Emek  Medical Center (in Afula). It uncovered for the first time that when growing hamnion  membrane cells on growth medium also used in IVF (in vitro fertilization), these cells  display specific signs of gene expression like those of germ cells, which develop into  human eggs, at both the gene and protein levels, as well as in appearance (resembling  large round cells that resemble eggs). Later, the cells express markers that mimic the
characteristic of markers in human egg development, which enable division reduction  upon entry (division that is essential in human egg development), and remain in this  state.

Researchers still face a major challenge – for these cells to be used in substitute of  human eggs, they need to properly complete the reduction process upon entry. Only  after finding a solution to this problem it will be possible to check whether or not Amnion  membrane cells may be used as a new source for human eggs that would be suitable  for women who cannot produce them on their own.