Stem Cells Repair Damaged Spinal Cord Tissue
Friday, 08 October 2010
There is hope that damage to the spinal cord and brain will one day be treatable using stem cells (i.e. immature cells that can develop into different cell types). Stem cell-like cells have been found in most parts of the adult human nervous system, although it is still unclear how much they contribute to the formation of new, functioning cells in adult individuals.
Professor Jonas Frisén.
Credit: Camilla Svensk.
The stem cells then give rise to cells that form scar tissue and to a type of support cell that is an important component of spinal cord functionality. The scientists also show that a certain family of mature cells known as astrocytes produce large numbers of scar-forming cells after injury.
"The stem cells have a certain positive effect following injury, but not enough for spinal cord functionality to be restored," says Jonas Frisén.
"One interesting question now is whether pharmaceutical compounds can be identified to stimulate the cells to form more support cells in order to improve functional recovery after a spinal trauma."
Source: Karolinska Institutet
Contact: Katarina Sternudd
Origin of new glial cells in the intact and injured adult spinal cord
Fanie Barnabé-Heider, Christian Göritz, Hanna Sabelström, Hirohide Takebayashi, Frank W. Pfrieger, Konstantinos Meletis & Jonas Frisén,
Cell Stem Cell, Volume 7, Issue 4, 470-482, 8 October 2010, 10.1016/j.stem.2010.07.014
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