Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New form of stem cell communication rescues diseased neurons

02.02.2010
International effort demonstrates cross-talk between implanted stem cells and diseased cells in mouse model

Investigators at Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute (Sanford-Burnham, formerly Burnham Institute for Medical Research), the Karolinska Institutet, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), Harvard Medical School and Université Libre de Bruxelles have demonstrated in mouse models that transplanted stems cells, when in direct contact with diseased neurons, send signals through specialized channels that rescue the neurons from death.

These direct cell-to-cell connections may also play a role in normal development by laying down the blueprint for more mature electrical connections between neurons and other cells. The research was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on February 1.

While it was already known that stem cells will seek out diseased cells in the brain, the international group of scientists showed, both in tissue culture and in mice, that the stem cells actively bring diseased neurons back from the brink via cross-talk through gap junctions, the connections between cells that allow molecular signals to pass back and forth. Significantly, the stem cells do not need to differentiate into the specific type of neuron to provide this therapeutic effect. The researchers also believe this protective mechanism may be active in other cell types and play a role in many diseases. For example, some of their preliminary work shows that these mechanisms may rescue damaged neural fibers in adult spinal cord injuries.

"We showed a while ago that stems cells may exert a therapeutic effect on damaged or diseased host systems by secreting therapeutic factors and 'bathing' the dying cells," said Evan Snyder, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology program at Sanford-Burnham. "However, we did not know that stem cells can also exert their action through direct cell-to-cell contact. Indeed, we believe that this may be a newly-recognized way in which stem cells communicate with the cells around them, not only under diseased conditions but during normal development."

"Grafted neural stem cells of mouse and human origin make early gap junction contact with cells in the host brain that benefit endangered host neurons, even rescuing them from impending cell death," added Richard L. Sidman, M.D., Professor of Neuropathology (Neuroscience) at BIDMC, Boston and Harvard Medical School.

Beginning with tissue culture studies, the team found that neural stem cells (NSCs, including human NSCs) integrated into the neural circuitry, coordinated signaling (as measured by calcium fluxes) and protected injured neurons. The team replicated these findings in diseased mice (including those that have a disorder similar to Huntington's disease) and spinal-injured rats. The scientists, led by Eric Herlenius, Ph.D., of the Karolinska Institutet and Dr. Snyder, hypothesized that communication through gap junctions was the mechanism for the protective effect. Subsequently, the researchers disabled gap junctions, which diminished the therapeutic effect and validated the gap junction hypothesis.

About Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute

Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute (formerly Burnham Institute for Medical Research) is dedicated to discovering the fundamental molecular causes of disease and devising the innovative therapies of tomorrow. Sanford-Burnham, with operations in California and Florida, is one of the fastest-growing research institutes in the country. The Institute ranks among the top independent research institutions nationally for NIH grant funding and among the top organizations worldwide for its research impact. From 1999 – 2009, Sanford-Burnham ranked #1 worldwide among all types of organizations in the fields of biology and biochemistry for the impact of its research publications, defined by citations per publication, according to the Institute for Scientific Information. According to government statistics, Sanford-Burnham ranks #2 nationally among all organizations in capital efficiency of generating patents, defined by the number of patents issued per grant dollars awarded.

Sanford-Burnham utilizes a unique, collaborative approach to medical research and has established major research programs in cancer, neurodegeneration, diabetes, and infectious, inflammatory, and childhood diseases. The Institute is especially known for its world-class capabilities in stem cell research and drug discovery technologies. Sanford-Burnham is a nonprofit public benefit corporation. For more information, please visit www.sanford-burnham.org.

About Beth Deaconess Medical Center

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is a patient care, teaching and research affiliate of Harvard Medical School, and consistently ranks among the top four in National Institutes of Health funding among independent hospitals nationwide. BIDMC is clinically affiliated with the Joslin Diabetes Center and is a research partner of the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center. BIDMC is the official hospital of the Boston Red Sox. For more information, visit www.bidmc.harvard.edu

Josh Baxt | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.burnham.org

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Symbiotic bacteria: from hitchhiker to beetle bodyguard
28.04.2017 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

nachricht Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis
28.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Grenzflächen- und Bioverfahrenstechnik IGB

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract

28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering

Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past

28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>