Brain Cells From
Adults Repair Spinal Cord Injury in Mice - Neural Precursor Cells
Allowed Mice To Walk Within Two Weeks of Injury
Brain Stem Cells
Scientists from Canada have found that spinal cord paralysis in rats can
be eased / repaired by transplanting brain cells taken from the adult
mouse. It may be possible to take brain cells from patients with spinal
cord injuries and then transplanting them back into themselves as a
Earlier studies have shown improvement in paralyzed lab animals with
transplanted embryonic stem cells. The new research is important
because the cells were taken from adult animals rather then embryos.
Also, the positive effects were produced even two weeks after the
Of course these stem cells are not as versatile as embryonic stem
cells. Embryonic stem cells can be used to repair more organs. But
these brain cells appear to be effective in treating spinal cord
In the mice study, the transplanted cells formed a sheath around the
nerve fibers. These sheaths resemble insulators around wires. Such
sheaths are disrupted in spinal cord injury and restoring them produced
the therapeutic effect in the rats.
The researchers found that mice treated eight weeks after the injury
were not helped. This illustrates a hurdle in treating spinal cord
patients long after their injury.
The report was published in the Journal of Neuroscience. Dr Michael
Fehlings, a neurosurgeon at the Krembil Neuroscience Center at Toronto
Western Research Institute was the lead researcher.
Stem cells have shown promise in repairing heart attack damage as well,
in an earlier study. John Hopkins researchers found that stem cells
from human heart tissue develop into multicellular, spherical structures
called cardiospheres that express the normal properties of primitive
heart tissue, smooth muscle and blood vessel cells.
Eduardo Marbán, M.D. said “The findings could potentially offer patients
use of their own stem cells to repair heart tissue soon after a heart
attack, or to regenerate weakened muscle resulting from heart failure,
perhaps averting the need for heart transplants.” Marban is professor
and chief of cardiology at The Johns Hopkins University School of
Medicine and its Heart Institute. He added “using a patient’s own adult
stem cells rather than a donor’s, there would be no risk of triggering
an immune response that could cause rejection.” So there appears to be
advantages in using the persons own stem cells to treat injuries.
By Dan Wilson
Books about Pain
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