Tomsk State University has opened the Cell Technology Laboratory, which is equipped with the most modern technologies for the growth of human and animal tissue, blood cells and stem cells. Cell culture research offers scientists the opportunity to obtain new fundamental data on the causes of serious chronic diseases such as diabetes mellitus or age-related cognitive impairment. The results of the groundbreaking research are used to develop new diagnostic and therapeutic approaches.
– The use of cell cultures makes it possible to study cells in more depth and obtain data that cannot be obtained by studying cells in whole organisms – says Leonid Kapilevich, head of the Department of Sports and Health Tourism, Sports Physiology and Medicine at TSU Faculty of Physical Culture. – Now we can see how a certain protein or enzyme works in a cell. Having obtained the necessary information, we can control these processes – deactivate or activate enzymes and various types of ion channels. This is not possible in studies on the entire organism.
TSU scientists are currently growing myoblasts, the precursors of human muscle cells, in the laboratory’s cell incubator. Myoblasts are used to identify the causes of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) – this disease is poorly medicated but can be corrected with physical activity.
Glucose is normally used in muscle cells, but this ability is impaired in T2DM. In previous studies on mice, the scientists from the TSU Faculty of Physical Education received two working hypotheses and will now test them on cell cultures.
– First we will induce changes in the cells similar to those that develop in patients with T2DM, and then with the help of an electrical stimulator we will subject myoblasts to contractions that mimic physical movement, explains Leonid Kapilevich. This helps us keep track of what changes are taking place in cells and understand how and which weak links must be affected in order to return the lost functionality to the cell – the ability to use glucose. When the reason is found, it is possible to target it.
The potential of the cell technology laboratory can be used for a variety of medical projects. In the future, the department’s scientists plan to investigate vascular endothelial cells and lung epithelium, their ability to regulate blood pressure and the process of blood clotting. It will provide new information about the causes of a severe course of the coronavirus, which affects the cells of the vascular endothelium and pulmonary epithelium and interacts with certain proteins.
The use of cell cultures makes it possible to develop a different line of research – to study the effect of physical activity on mental abilities. Due to increasing life expectancy around the world, the number of people with age-related cognitive disorders is growing. Because of this, mankind faces the acute problem of finding ways to maintain cognitive skills and prevent the development of disorders as severe as dementia.
Cell culture studies can help determine which types of exercise have positive effects on cognitive function and target specific exercise patterns. Biomarkers will also be identified that can be used to diagnose disease early when treatment is most effective.
The new TSU laboratory will greatly expand the skills of scientists in conducting research and generating new fundamental data for innovative technologies that maintain and improve the quality of human life.
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