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Thread: Study identifies cells for spinal-cord repair

  1. #1
    Senior Member Jeremy's Avatar
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    Study identifies cells for spinal-cord repair

    Study identifies cells for spinal-cord repair

    http://www.physorg.com/news135604595.html

    By Deborah Halber, General Science / Biology
    A researcher at MIT’s Picower Institute for Learning and Memory has pinpointed stem cells within the spinal cord that, if persuaded to differentiate into more healing cells and fewer scarring cells following an injury, may lead to a new, non-surgical treatment for debilitating spinal-cord injuries.
    The work, reported in the July issue of the journal PLoS (Public Library of Science) Biology, is by Konstantinos Meletis, a postdoctoral fellow at the Picower Institute, and colleagues at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden. Their results could lead to drugs that might restore some degree of mobility to the 30,000 people worldwide afflicted each year with spinal-cord injuries.

    In a developing embryo, stem cells differentiate into all the specialized tissues of the body. In adults, stem cells act as a repair system, replenishing specialized cells, but also maintaining the normal turnover of regenerative organs such as blood, skin or intestinal tissues.

    The tiny number of stem cells in the adult spinal cord proliferate slowly or rarely, and fail to promote regeneration on their own. But recent experiments show that these same cells, grown in the lab and returned to the injury site, can restore some function in paralyzed rodents and primates.

    The researchers at MIT and the Karolinska Institute found that neural stem cells in the adult spinal cord are limited to a layer of cube- or column-shaped, cilia-covered cells called ependymal cells. These cells make up the thin membrane lining the inner-brain ventricles and the connecting central column of the spinal cord.

    “We have been able to genetically mark this neural stem cell population and then follow their behavior,” Meletis said. “We find that these cells proliferate upon spinal cord injury, migrate toward the injury site and differentiate over several months.”

    The study uncovers the molecular mechanism underlying the tantalizing results of the rodent and primate and goes one step further: By identifying for the first time where this subpopulation of cells is found, they pave a path toward manipulating them with drugs to boost their inborn ability to repair damaged nerve cells.

    “The ependymal cells’ ability to turn into several different cell types upon injury makes them very interesting from an intervention aspect: Imagine if we could regulate the behavior of this stem cell population to repair damaged nerve cells,” Meletis said.

    Upon injury, ependymal cells proliferate and migrate to the injured area, producing a mass of scar-forming cells, plus fewer cells called oligodendrocytes. The oligodendrocytes restore the myelin, or coating, on nerve cells’ long, slender, electrical impulse-carrying projections called axons. Myelin is like the layer of plastic insulation on an electrical wire; without it, nerve cells don’t function properly.

    “The limited functional recovery typically associated with central nervous system injuries is in part due to the failure of severed axons to regrow and reconnect with their target cells in the peripheral nervous system that extends to our arms, hands, legs and feet,” Meletis said. “The function of axons that remain intact after injury in humans is often compromised without insulating sheaths of myelin.”

    If scientists could genetically manipulate ependymal cells to produce more myelin and less scar tissue after a spinal cord injury, they could potentially avoid or reverse many of the debilitating effects of this type of injury, the researchers said.

    Provided by MIT

  2. #2
    Senior Member Scott Buxton's Avatar
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    To ignorant me, THIS sounds like it has tremendous potential. Scott.

  3. #3
    The paper has not yet appeared on the PLOS site and so I have not seen the data. What I can say is that the hypothesis that ependymal cells are the stem cells of the spinal cord had been proposed several times over the past decade but nobody has come out with the data that shows that these cells are indeed the stem cells of the spinal cord. Ependymal cells indeed do proliferate after injury. However, it is not clear that they contribute to the new cells that are made at the injury site, the only or even the main source. There is no question that there are stem cells in the spinal cord. The question is who they are.

    Wise.

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    Senior Member Scott Buxton's Avatar
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    Thank you for the clarification. I'll just keep my fingers crossed. Scott.

  5. #5
    A special candle in the window tonight for all the SCI researchers.

    May they find a cure.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member Jeremy's Avatar
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    Spinal Cord Stem Cells May Act as Nerve Repair System

    Spinal Cord Stem Cells May Act as Nerve Repair System


    Tuesday, July 22, 2008; 12:00 AM

    TUESDAY, July 22 (HealthDay News) -- Adult stem cells that may prove valuable in efforts to develop nonsurgical treatments for spinal cord injuries have been identified by researchers in the United States and Sweden.

    They say it may be possible to develop drugs that boost the ability of these stem cells to repair damaged nerve cells.

    An adult's spinal cord contains only a small number of stem cells, which proliferate slowly or rarely and don't promote regeneration on their own. But some research has shown that spinal cord stem cells grown in the lab and returned to the injury site can restore some physical function in paralyzed rodents and primates.

    In this new study, scientists at MIT's Picower Institute for Learning and Memory in Cambridge, Mass., and at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm found that neural stem cells in the adult spinal cord are limited to a layer of cells called ependymal cells, which make up the thin membrane lining the inner-brain ventricles and the connecting central column of the spinal cord.

    "We have been able to genetically mark this neural stem cell population and then follow their behavior. We find that these cells proliferate upon spinal cord injury, migrate toward the injury site and differentiate over several months," study author Konstantinos Meletis said in an MIT news release.

    "The ependymal cells' ability to turn into several different cell types upon injury makes them very interesting from an intervention aspect. Imagine if we could regulate the behavior of this stem cell population to repair damaged nerve cells," Meletis said.

    The research was published in the July issue ofPLoS Medicine.

    More information

    The U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has more about spinal cord injury.

    SOURCE; Massachusetts Institute of Technology, news release, July 21, 2008

  7. #7

    Spinal Cord Stem Cells May Act as Nerve Repair System

    Spinal Cord Stem Cells May Act as Nerve Repair System
    Grown in lab, then returned to body, they could lead to nonsurgical treatments
    Posted July 22, 2008


    TUESDAY, July 22 (HealthDay News) -- Adult stem cells that may prove valuable in efforts to develop nonsurgical treatments for spinal cord injuries have been identified by researchers in the United States and Sweden.

    They say it may be possible to develop drugs that boost the ability of these stem cells to repair damaged nerve cells.

    An adult's spinal cord contains only a small number of stem cells, which proliferate slowly or rarely and don't promote regeneration on their own. But some research has shown that spinal cord stem cells grown in the lab and returned to the injury site can restore some physical function in paralyzed rodents and primates.

    http://health.usnews.com/articles/he...ve-repair.html

  8. #8
    Senior Member DA's Avatar
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    many here on cc dont care about spinal cord stem cells, they rather foreign esc that may leaves you on immune suppression drugs for life. this should have been the focus for the sci community after bush restricted esc research. so the reason for not having something available to us today is our own fault.

  9. #9
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    Knock knock... who's there? Spinal cord stem cells... spinal cord stem cells who? Let's just hope, I would cross my fingers, never mind... 12 year anniversary around the corner, getting tired getting old getting negative the list goes on. Ready to break out service pistol but it's on the top shelf, go figure C3 injury hands not working neither. Oh well
    keiffer66

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