Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Markers of brain cell development may help success of stem cell transplants

07.09.2005


Four sugar-coated faces made by stem cells as they differentiate into brain cells during development have been identified by scientists.



These unique expressions of sugar on the cell surface may one day enable stem cell therapy to repair brain injury or disease by helping stem cells navigate the relative “jungle” of the adult brain, says Dr. Robert K. Yu, director of the Institute of Neuroscience and the Institute for Molecular Medicine and Genetics at the Medical College of Georgia.

“These glycoconjugate markers are like specific addresses that characterize the cell at that particular moment. We call them stage-specific embryonic antigens,” says Dr. Yu of recognition molecules that assist in the unbelievably rapid assemblage of 100 billion to 200 billion cells into a brain in nine months.


The four compounds – two glycolipids, GD3 and O-acetylated GD3, and two glycoproteins, Stage-specific Embryonic Antigen-1 and Human Natural Killer Cell Antigen 1 – were known, but their role in helping cells migrate where and when needed was unknown.

The findings of Dr. Yu, Postdoctoral Fellow Makoto Yanagisawa and Dr. Sean Liour, co-director of MCG’s Human Stem Cell Bank, are being presented during the biannual International Symposium on Glycoconjugates, Sept. 4-9 in Florence, Italy. Dr. Yu is a meeting organizer and is chairing the session on Regulatory Mechanisms for Glycolipid Expression and Intracellular Trafficking.

“We are all sugar-coated, really,” says Dr. Yu, who studies these cell surface molecules that change constantly during development. “There is an abundance of sugar on the cell surface, not only that defines the cell’s properties but also help cells recognize each other and stick together,” he says, noting how like cells bind to form an organ.

During brain formation, for example, cells are constantly changing their sugar face and their function to meet the immediate biological needs. They travel a sort of neuron interstate laid out by the first stem cells formed in development before rapid cell migration and transformation begins. “These ‘interstates’ are called Bergmann glia or glial fibers. They serve as guidance for the neuronal cells to migrate,” Dr. Yu says of the network that is maintained in the adult brain despite the fact that mature neurons don’t really change.

Conditions such as trauma, spinal cord injury and stroke can destroy these travel networks as well as brain cells. Labs such as Dr. Yu’s are doing stem cell transplants to re-establish roadways and get undifferentiated stem cells to repopulate such ravaged areas. He hopes the new developmental markers will help in this effort by showing what cell surface molecules should look like – and consequently how the cells should act – at certain points along the way.

Two of the biggest problems facing stem cell transplantation are functional recovery – getting the cells to do the right job once they arrive at a target organ – and controlling their proliferation so they don’t start forming tumors, says Dr. Yu.

MCG Biochemist Erhard Bieberich is exploring the potential of the lipid ceramide, which helps eliminate potentially harmful cells during brain development, to halt unwanted proliferation of transplanted stem cells.

Dr. Yu hopes the new developmental markers will help with the other problem. “There are other players, but these are important factors that help the brain form. I think it’s a good start. Now that we have these to use as examples, discovery of other markers should come faster.”

The work was funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Children’s Medical Research Foundation in Chicago and the Cerebral Ataxia Association in Taiwan.

Toni Baker | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.mcg.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht How brains surrender to sleep
23.06.2017 | IMP - Forschungsinstitut für Molekulare Pathologie GmbH

nachricht A new technique isolates neuronal activity during memory consolidation
22.06.2017 | Spanish National Research Council (CSIC)

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Equipping form with function

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>