Turning bone into nerve


Specific induction of neuronal cells from bone marrow stromal cells and application for autologous transplantation

The sources used for stem cell treatment of neurodegenerative diseases are currently limited to embryonic stem cells or to adult stem cells of neuronal lineage. It is essential to find additional cellular sources to treat these debilitating diseases given the limited number of embryonic stem cell lines available. Mari Dezawa and colleagues, from Kyoto University, now show that adult stem cells from bone marrow can also be changed into neuronal cells and that these cells benefited a Parkinson disease rat model. The authors induced the bone marrow cells to become neuronal cells by transferring a portion of a gene called Notch that influences the development of neuron cells. After the bone marrow cells were given a portion of the Notch gene, they were treated with growth factors and were found to display typical neuronal characteristics and activities. The therapeutic potential of these cells was confirmed by their transplantation into a rat model of Parkinson disease where there was subsequent restoration of neuronal function.

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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