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Neuronal Differentiation Of Human Neural Stem Cell Grafts In Adult Rat Spinal Cord

| Source: medicalnewstoday.com

Human neural stem cell grafts can show neuronal differentiation in the normal and injured spinal cord of adult rats. Researchers from Johns Hopkins University and Neuralstem Inc, led by Vassilis Koliatsos, grafted neural stem cell grafts derived from spinal cord of a single eight week fetus, into the lower spinal cord of normal or injured immune deficient adult rats. As part of the differentiation, the researchers found that some of these cells grew axons (the long arms of nerve cells) and some were able to form cell to cell contacts (synapses) with Motor neurons of the host rats. These results challenge previous assumptions that the spinal cord is unable to support the differentiation of neurons from stem cell grafts.

Although these results are encouraging there is a long way to go before these results might be translated into benefit for patients. For example, although the researchers used Neuron-specific cell markers to identify the cells derived from the stem cells, they did not show whether or not these cells can function correctly as neurons, such as by producing electrical impulses. In addition, they did not investigate whether there was any recovery of movement in the injured rats.

A related perspective article by Sally Temple and Natalia Lowry of Albany Medical College discusses the paper’s findings further, stressing both the crucial need to repeat this work using different primary lines established from other human embryonic spinal cord cells, the necessity of using different animal models that are not immune deficient, and also the need for future studies that include behavioral analysis of the experimental animals.

Citation: Yan J, Xu L, Welsh AM, Hatfield G, Hazel T, et al. (2007) Extensive neuronal differentiation of human neural stem cell grafts in adult rat spinal cord. PLoS Med 4(2): e39.

PLEASE ADD THE LINK TO THE PUBLISHED ARTICLE IN ONLINE VERSIONS OF YOUR REPORT

CONTACT:

Vassilis Koliatsos
Johns Hopkins University
Pathology
720 Rutland Ave
ROSS 558
Baltimore, MD 21205 United States of America

Related PLoS Medicine Perspective article:

Citation: Lowry NA, Temple S (2007) Making human neurons from stem cells after spinal cord injury. PLoS Med 4(2): e48.

PLEASE ADD THE LINK TO THE PUBLISHED ARTICLE IN ONLINE VERSIONS OF YOUR REPORT

CONTACT:

Sally Temple
Albany Medical College
Center for Neuropharmacology and Neuroscience
Room TSX-206
47 New Scotland Avenue
Albany, NY 12208 United States of America

THE FOLLOWING RESEARCH ARTICLE WILL ALSO BE PUBLISHED ONLINE:

Cell of origin of CNS tumor identified

von Hippel-Lindau disease is caused by a mutation in a gene – the VHL tumor suppressor gene. Affected individuals may develop benign or malignant tumors and cysts in many different places, including the Central Nervous System. Researchers from the National Institutes of Health, USA, led by Russell Lonser, have now identified the cell of origin of hemangioblastomas, one of these central nervous system tumors, as an early embryonic cell, the hemangioblast, which can form both blood and blood vessels. As well as contributing to the understanding of the biology of these tumors, these findings may help explain their distribution within the body.

Citation: Park DM, Zhuang Z, Chen L, Szerlip N, Maric I, et al. (2007) von Hippel-Lindau disease-associated hemangioblastomas are derived from embryologic multipotent cells. PLoS Med 4(2): e60.

PLEASE ADD THE LINK TO THE PUBLISHED ARTICLE IN ONLINE VERSIONS OF YOUR REPORT

CONTACT:

Russell Lonser
National Institutes of Health
Surgical Neurology Branch
10 Center Drive
Building 10, Room 5D37
Bethesda, MD 20892-1414 United States of America

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Everything published by PLoS Medicine is Open Access: freely available for anyone to read, download, redistribute and otherwise use, as long as the authorship is properly attributed.

Contact: Andrew Hyde
Public Library of Science

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