Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Neural cell transplants fight immune attack in mice with multiple sclerosis

14.07.2005


Researchers at the San Raffaele Hospital (Milan, Italy) published unexpected results of studies in which immature nerve cells (adult mouse neural stem cells) injected into the blood of mice with MS-like disease were able to suppress the immune attacks that damage the brain and spinal cord tissues. The study, funded in part by the National MS Society, is being reported by Drs. Stefano Pluchino, Gianvito Martino and colleagues in the July 14, 2005 issue of Nature. These surprising findings, if confirmed, suggest that neural stem cells that reside in the adult brain may not only serve as replacement cells for tissue repair, but in some circumstances may also protect the brain from inflammation. Further research is needed to confirm these results and to address multiple issues involved in translating such experiments into finding ways to fight the immune attack and protect and repair brain tissues in people with MS.



Background: In recent years, scientists have been exploring ways to repair the damage of brain and spinal cord tissues during the course of the immune attack in MS. Evidence suggests that the body successfully repairs some myelin damaged in MS, but not enough to keep up with its loss. Research has shown that adult brains contain stem cells – also known as precursors or progenitors – that might serve as replacement cells. It has been hoped that, given the right signals, these may be stimulated to grow into viable new tissue. The search for these signals is an active area of research. Another possibility being explored is cell transplantation.

Studies involving transplantation of immature myelin-making cells (oligodendrocyte precursors) have been to some degrees successful in rodent models, triggering recovery of function and restoring nerve conduction. However, such repair has only been successful in isolated areas of the brain, whereas MS and MS-like diseases in animal models involve lesions scattered throughout the brain and spinal cord. Finding a way to introduce potential replacement cells that can migrate throughout the central nervous system and home in on damaged areas has presented a significant hurdle in this field.


The San Raffaele Hospital team and others have been investigating transplantation of neural stem cells, which have the potential to develop into various types of brain cells – including nerve cells and myelin-making cells – and which appear capable of expanding their numbers extensively, and moving to distant sites of injury within the brain. In 2003, they reported that neural stem cells transplanted into mice with an MS-like disease were able to migrate to multiple areas of myelin and nerve fiber damage in mice with an MS-like disease, repair this damage, and restore clinical function. (Nature 2003;422:688-694). In the current study, the team attempted to define the mechanisms responsible for the migration of these cells into the brain and to sites of injury. This study was funded in part by the National MS Society (USA), the Myelin Project, the Italian MS Foundation and the Italian Minister of Health.

The Study: Dr. Pluchino and colleagues injected neural stem cells, taken from the brains of adult mice, into the blood of mice with a relapsing-remitting form of EAE, an MS-like disease. Relapsing-remitting disease involves clearly defined flare-ups followed by partial or complete remissions. Some mice were injected at the onset of disease, and others at the onset of the first relapse.

Mice in which neural stem cells were injected at disease onset started to recover between 30 and 60 days, and experienced a twofold reduction in relapses compared with untreated mice. Mice injected at the first relapse started to recover later, but showed a threefold reduction of the relapse rate between 60 and 90 days, compared with untreated mice. Both groups showed a significant reduction in the extent of myelin damage and nerve fiber loss compared to untreated mice.

The team then explored the mechanism by which the neural stem cells entered the brain from the bloodstream. They reported that a protein on their surface called VLA-4, which is also found on immune cells and allows them to cross from the blood into the brain, facilitated their movement into the brain. In addition, the investigators reported finding a wide range of immune proteins to be active on the transplanted neural stem cells; these proteins serve as “docking sites” to receive signals from immune cells active in the attack. Furthermore, they reported that a portion of the transplanted cells remained in an immature state and accumulated in the brain around blood vessels (perivascular areas) where immune cells enter the brain during active disease. These transplanted cells showed signs of being able to turn off activated immune cells and reduce inflammation, thus protecting brain tissues from immune-mediated damage.

Conclusion: These exciting and unexpected findings from a respected group of investigators, if confirmed, suggest that transplanted neural stem cells may serve not only as replacement cells for tissue repair, but in some circumstances may also protect the brain from inflammation. Further research is needed to confirm these results and to address multiple issues involved in translating such experiments into finding ways to fight the immune attack and protect and repair brain tissues in people with MS.

-- Research and Clinical Programs

Arney Rosenblat | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.nmss.org

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Taking screening methods to the next level
17.10.2017 | IMBA - Institut für Molekulare Biotechnologie der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften GmbH

nachricht Are there sustainable solutions in dealing with dwindling phosphorus resources?
16.10.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Nutzierbiologie (FBN)

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

Im Focus: New nanomaterial can extract hydrogen fuel from seawater

Hybrid material converts more sunlight and can weather seawater's harsh conditions

It's possible to produce hydrogen to power fuel cells by extracting the gas from seawater, but the electricity required to do it makes the process costly. UCF...

Im Focus: Small collisions make big impact on Mercury's thin atmosphere

Mercury, our smallest planetary neighbor, has very little to call an atmosphere, but it does have a strange weather pattern: morning micro-meteor showers.

Recent modeling along with previously published results from NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft -- short for Mercury Surface, Space Environment, Geochemistry and...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

‘Find the Lady’ in the quantum world

17.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A single photon reveals quantum entanglement of 16 million atoms

16.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>