Repairing neurons using stem cells

15th Jan 2019

Brain and Neuroscience Advances HeaderStem cells have been researched extensively, as their ability to differentiate, divide indefinitely and the fact that they do not age makes them a promising treatment for many diseases.

Goncalves and Przyborski (2018), published in the BNA's official journal 'Brain and Neuroscience Advances', describe how these cells can be used to regrow and repair neurons, meaning that they may be used to treat for example spinal cord injuries and Parkinson’s disease.

Multipotent stem cells are cells that are more limited in the type of cell they can differentiate into. A type of multipotent stem cell, neural stem cells, have been shown to be able to repair damage after a stroke and spinal cord injuries in animals.

One important risk with the use of pluripotent stem cells, which are able to differentiate into all cells, is that they could lead to tumour growth. However, past experiments have been able to control this risk well.

Researching these cells also reveals more about neurodegeneration, the loss of neurons. Scientists have been able to create functional dopamine neurons from stem cells and transplant these into mice, restoring the ability to move. As Parkinson’s disease involves the dying of dopamine producing neurons, this could potentially lead to a treatment for Parkinson’s disease.

To access the full article, click here

Goncalves, K. and Przyborski, S., 2018. The utility of stem cells for neural regeneration. Brain and Neuroscience Advances, 2

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