The team focused their research on spinal cord injuries, caused when the spinal cord is damaged by trauma rather than disease. Depending on the severity a spinal injury can lead from pain to full paralysis, with high social and medical care costs. As the spinal cord lacks the ability to regenerate, the potential for patient recovery is severely limited.
"Our research offers the first evidence that the spinal cord meninges, the system of membranes which cover the surface of the brain and the spinal cord, contains stem cells which are capable of self-renewal and proliferation," said lead authors Dr Ilaria Decimo and Dr Francesco Bifari, at the University of Verona.
Following a spinal injury meningeal cells increase in number and migrate to form glial scars and the team believe this process explains part of the mechanism of stem cell activation in central nervous system diseases; a mechanism which could in turn be used for treatments. Dr Decimo's team microdissected samples of spinal cord meninges from adult rats revealing that meningeal cells contain crucial stem cell properties. It is these properties which increase following a spinal cord injury.
"Our research emphasizes the role of meninges cells in the reaction to spinal cord trauma and indicates for the first time that spinal cord meninges harbour stem cells which are activated by injury," concluded Dr, Decimo. "Further testing could result in a strategic turnaround for advancing regenerative medicine for treating neurological disorders and spinal cord injuries."
"This study underlines the importance of endogenous stem cells," said STEM CELLS Editor Dr Miodrag Stojkovic. "Identification of these cells is crucial for understanding the basic mechanisms of cell biology and tissue repair, but also to identify drugs and chemicals which might be used to mobilize meningeal stem cells."
Ben Norman | EurekAlert!
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Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
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Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
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A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
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