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Open Access Transplantation of Cultured Autologous Melanocytes: Hope or Danger?

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Cultured human melanocytes are increasingly being used in the treatment of vitiligo. The growth media contain various types of mitogenic factors, both recombinant human (e.g., rhbFGF and rhSCF) and synthetic (e.g., TPA). High concentrations of mitogenic factors accelerate the cell cycle, and consequently may increase the risk of carcinogenesis of transplanted cells. Mutations of genes of the RAS/RAF/MEK/ERK signaling pathway are very often found in the early stages of the development of melanoma. TPA is considered to be an oncogenic factor, but so far there is no evidence to show that it is responsible for damage to the genetic material of cultured melanocytes. The aim of our study was to assess the risk of the development of mutations in selected genes of the RAS/RAF/MEK/ERK signaling pathway during the culturing of melanocytes in various growth media. Based on the results obtained, it can be concluded that TPA and high concentrations of other growth factors intensify the proliferation of melanocytes, without the risk of damage to the HRAS (exon 1 and 2), KRAS (exon 1 and 2), NRAS (exon 1 and 2), and BRAF (exon 11 and 15) genes. In order to assess the total safety of the transplantation of cultured melanocytes, it is necessary to carry out further studies on other signaling pathways as well as carry out biological tests on an animal model.

Keywords: Melanocyte culture; Melanoma; Melanomagenesis; RAS/RAF/MEK/ERK pathway; Vitiligo

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Tissue Engineering, Nicolaus Copernicus University in Torun, Ludwik Rydygier Medical College in Bydgoszcz, Bydgoszcz, Poland

Publication date: May 1, 2010

More about this publication?
  • Cell Transplantation publishes original, peer-reviewed research and review articles on the subject of cell transplantation and its application to human diseases. To ensure high-quality contributions from all areas of transplantation, separate section editors and editorial boards have been established. Articles deal with a wide range of topics including physiological, medical, preclinical, tissue engineering, and device-oriented aspects of transplantation of nervous system, endocrine, growth factor-secreting, bone marrow, epithelial, endothelial, and genetically engineered cells, among others. Basic clinical studies and immunological research papers are also featured. To provide complete coverage of this revolutionary field, Cell Transplantation will report on relevant technological advances, and ethical and regulatory considerations of cell transplants. Cell Transplantation is now an Open Access journal starting with volume 18 in 2009, and therefore there will be an inexpensive publication charge, which is dependent on the number of pages, in addition to the charge for color figures. This will allow work to be disseminated to a wider audience and also entitle the corresponding author to a free PDF, as well as prepublication of an unedited version of the manuscript.

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