Kirsty Spalding

Kirsty Spalding
Department of Cell and Molecular Biology (CMB)
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Cell Regeneration in Health, Disease and Aging

It is quite remarkable how little is known about the age of cells in many regions of the adult human body. Are the cells we are born with the ones we die with? Or as organs/tissues age, do they maintain their developmental ability to make new cells? The stability or turnover of cells in different tissues is a fundamental feature that may influence the response of different organs to insults and aging. During aging and dementia it is known that we lose neurons, however what is not known is whether we also maintain the ability to make new neurons, and if we do, is this process affected in illness and disease? Neurogenesis is known to occur in specific regions of the adult animal brain, but the extent of neurogenesis in the adult human brain is much harder to determine, and to date largely unknown. Traditional methods used for dating cells are limited in the information they provide, or are not appropriate for human use (all available techniques for studying cell turnover are considered unsafe for use in humans).

It is our interest to use a recently developed strategy (which allows one to retrospectively determine the birthdate of cells in the adult human body) to assess cell turnover in the normal and pathological adult human brain. Studies in other tissues, such as fat and teeth are also under investigation. Such information can provide important data regarding disease pathogenesis and in that way suggest novel approaches to treat various diseases.

5 Selected publications:

Spalding, K.L., Arner, E., Westermark, P.O., Bernard, S., Buchholz, B.A., Bergmann, O., Blomqvist, L., Hoffstedt, J., Näslund, E., Britton, T., Concha, H., Hassan, M., Ryden, M., Frisen, J., Arner, P. Dynamics of fat cell turnover in humans. Nature 453:783-787 (2008)

Spalding, K.L., Buchholz, B.A., Bergyman, L-A., Druid, H., and Frisén, J. Forensic medicine: Age written in teeth by nuclear bomb tests. Nature 437:333-334 (2005)

Spalding, K,L., Bhardwaj, R,D., Buchholz, B,A., Druid, H., and Frisén, J. Retroactive birth dating of cells. Cell 122:133-143 (2005)

Spalding, K.L., Cui, Q., and Harvey, A.R. Retinal ganglion cell neurotrophin receptor levels and trophic requirements following target ablation in the neonatal rat. Neuroscience 131:387-395 (2005)

Spalding, K.L., Dharmarajan, A., and Harvey, A.R. Caspase-independent retinal ganglion cell death after target ablation in the neonatal rat retina. European Journal of Neuroscience 21:33-45 (2005)