I found an article recently which stated that a completely new compound which I have never heard of has the ability to increase the amount of stem cells taken from human blood and bone marrow. Personally I believe that one of the best approaches and paths towards alternative height increasing ideas is to study more on potential compounds that can increase stem cells. This compound called Pleiotrophin is very new to me so I asked the question “Can we potentially inject pleiotrophin in our cartilage or bones to induce chondrogenesis and cartilage formation, and thus increase in height and make us taller?”
The article is entitled “Newly-Identified Growth Factor Promotes Stem Cell Growth, Regeneration” which I found from DukeHealth.org which is some website affiliated with Duke Medicine.
This compound seems to be a recently discovered growth factor that has the function of “stimulating the growth and regeneration of hematopoietic stem cells in vitro and in vivo.” The new growth factor has potential since one of the biggest challenges with traditional applications of stem cells is the fact that stem cells seem to not proliferate very easily and the quantity of stem cells available is very little. It seems that the stem cell researchers have agreed that the ultimate source for stem cells for people who need transplants (ie. people who have cancer and can not longer use the chemo & radiation approach) would be from umbilical cord blood. The amount of umbilical cords are obviously extremely limited and there has not been any type of growth factor that is good enough in expanding the number of stem cells from the umbilical cord. When the researchers injected lab rats with pleiotrophin they noticed that the amount of stem cells that were coming from or produced by the bone marrow increased 10 fold. So obviously this compound might have some very important applications. However there is some worry that this compound might also cause some cells in the body to turn malignant although so far so results show this to be the case.
So I looked through PubMed and dug up as many useful and relevant studies as I could find to see what is the effect of pleiotrophin on bone tissue and cartilage tissue, if any. These are the studies that I managed to find.
Pleiotrophin turns out to be a type of regulated protein that is found commonly in the cartilage of fetuses but not developed mature cartilage. It binds to heparin. When the proteoglycan from the medium of mature chondrocytes are removed and treated with this compound, the synthesis of proteoglycan increases by 3 X. When the same pleiotrophin is added to the chondrocytes of fetuses, there is no increase in the level of proteoglycan synthesis. It seems that pleiotrophin seems to be able to control by inhibiting the growth of chondrocytes. When FGF and heparin was used, they could not reverse the effects of pleiotrophin. Upregulation of the mRNA for the proteins biglycan and collagen type II are also seen in the treated mature chondrocytes. It was noticed also that glycoaminoglycan concentration was increase multiple fold.
The researchers concluded that “These results establish that PTN inhibits cell proliferation, while stimulating the synthesis of proteoglycans in mature chondrocytes in vitro, suggesting that PTN may act directly or indirectly to regulate growth and proteoglycan synthesis in the developing matrix of fetal cartilage.”
Study #2: Effects of pleiotrophin, a heparin-binding growth factor, on human primary and immortalized chondrocytes.
It seems that this compound is expressed in mature cartilage in the early stages of osteoarthritis. However it seems that if you stimulate chondrocytes with the pleiotrophin for a long enough time you reduce the mRNA of VEGF as well as Nitric Oxide production. The other big part is that the mRNA for MMP-1 & MMP-13 were reduced, while the inhibitors of the MMPs, something called TIMP-1 & TIMP-2 were induced, which suggest that it could be very useful for chondrocyte formation. It was concluded that PTN is a autocrine growth factor in cartilage which has a role during the formation of osteoarthritis when the chondrocytes start to aggregate together.
This compound is said to be “expressed in mesodermal and neuroectodermal cells during development, but rarely in adult tissues“. The researchers wanted to see whether PTN would show up in the synovial fluid of joints which have osteoarthritis. It seems that this growth factor has roles in cancer development, in chondrocyte differentiation, and during embryonic growth. The most interesting conclusion is that during early stages of OA, the mRNA for this peptide is expressed. While some people might think it is a bas compound, the researchers conclude that “PTN might be involved in cartilage repair in OA, in particular, in earlier stages”
It seems that PTN was strongly up-regulated in synovial tissues from patients with rheumatoid arthritis while the up-regulation for people with osteoarthritis was much less. It also stimulated the proliferation of cultured human synoviocytes and in dermal fibroblasts VEGF. “Proinflammatory cytokines enhance the expression of PTN. Thus, we propose that PTN is a further paracrine angiogenesis and growth factor for synovial cells”
So what did I find and conclude about this compound? Does it have any type of pro-chondrogenic potential or anabolic properties?
It seems to cause inflammation but inflammation is just the body’s immune system trying to attack a foreign object.
This compound is seen in both of the main types of arthritis. The general guess is that it is not expressed to start to damage the cartilage, but it is actually used to heal the cartilage during the early stages of arthritis at least.
It is said that this compound inhibits VEGF, NO, MMP-1 and MMP-13, all of which we have concluded at some point is bad for overall cartilage health.
This compound was shown to increase GAG and Proteoglycan concentrations in mature cartilage chondrocytes and medium/matrix in vivo and in vitro.
I would guess that injection of this compound would NOT cause arthritis since it seems to be to repair cartilage. If you injected it, the matrix of cartilage might generate more GAG and make the cartilage more robust and full.
There is a slight change that this compound can be used to keep cartilage healthier and slow down growth plate cartilage ossification.