Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Stem cell treatment improves mobility after spinal cord injury

11.05.2005


Discovery reveals how stem cells can be used to help repair acute spinal cord damage



A treatment derived from human embryonic stem cells improves mobility in rats with spinal cord injuries, providing the first physical evidence that the therapeutic use of these cells can help restore motor skills lost from acute spinal cord tissue damage.

Hans Keirstead and his colleagues in the Reeve-Irvine Research Center at UC Irvine have found that a human embryonic stem cell-derived treatment they developed was successful in restoring the insulation tissue for neurons in rats treated seven days after the initial injury, which led to a recovery of motor skills. But the same treatment did not work on rats that had been injured for 10 months. The findings point to the potential of using stem cell-derived therapies for treatment of spinal cord damage in humans during the very early stages of the injury. The study appears in the May 11 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience.


"We’re very excited with these results. They underscore the great potential that stem cells have for treating human disease and injury," Keirstead said. "This study suggests one approach to treating people who’ve just suffered spinal cord injury, although there is still much work to do before we can engage in human clinical tests."

Acute spinal cord damage occurs during the first few weeks of the injury. In turn, the chronic period begins after a few months. It is anticipated that the stem cell treatment in humans will occur during spinal stabilization at the acute phase, when rods and ties are placed in the spinal column to restabilize it after injury. Currently, drug treatments are given during the acute phase to help stabilize the injury site, but they provide only a very mild benefit, and they do not foster regeneration of insulation tissue.

For the study, the UCI team used a novel technique they created to entice human embryonic stem cells to differentiate into early-stage oligodendrocyte cells. Oligodendrocytes are the building blocks of myelin, the biological insulation for nerve fibers that is critical for maintenance of electrical conduction in the central nervous system. When myelin is stripped away through disease or injury, sensory and motor deficiencies result and, in some cases, paralysis can occur.

The researchers injected these cells into rats that had experienced a partial injury to the spinal cord that impairs walking ability -- one group seven days after injury and another 10 months after injury. In both groups, the early-stage cells formed into full-grown oligodendrocyte cells and migrated to appropriate neuronal sites within the spinal cord.

In the rats treated seven days after the injury, myelin tissue formed as the oligodendrocyte cells wrapped around damaged neurons in the spinal cord. Within two months, these rats began to show significant improvements in walking ability in comparison to injured rats who received no treatment.

In the rats with 10-month-old injuries, though, motor skills did not return. Although the oligodendrocyte cells survived in the chronic injury sites, they could not form myelin because the space surrounding neuron cells had been filled with scar tissue. In the presence of a scar, myelin could not grow.

These studies indicate the importance of myelin loss in spinal cord injury, and illustrate one approach to treating myelin loss. Keirstead and his colleagues are currently working on other approaches using human embryonic stem cells to treat chronic injuries and other disorders of the central nervous system.

In previous studies, Keirstead and colleagues identified how the body’s immune system attacks and destroys myelin during spinal cord injury or disease states. They also have shown that when treated with antibodies to block immune system response, myelin is capable of regenerating, which ultimately restores sensory and motor activity.

Oswald Steward, Gabriel I. Nistor, Giovanna Bernal, Minodora Totiu, Frank Cloutier and Kelly Sharp also participated in the study, which was supported by the Geron Corp., a UC Discovery grant, Research for Cure, the Roman Reed Spinal Cord Injury Research Fund of California and individual donations to the Reeve-Irvine Research Center. Geron provides the human embryonic stem cells for Keirstead’s research.

Tom Vasich | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.uci.edu
http://www.today.uci.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Protein interaction helps Yersinia cause disease
21.08.2018 | Schwedischer Forschungsrat - The Swedish Research Council

nachricht Nanobot pumps destroy nerve agents
21.08.2018 | American Chemical Society

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: It’s All in the Mix: Jülich Researchers are Developing Fast-Charging Solid-State Batteries

There are currently great hopes for solid-state batteries. They contain no liquid parts that could leak or catch fire. For this reason, they do not require cooling and are considered to be much safer, more reliable, and longer lasting than traditional lithium-ion batteries. Jülich scientists have now introduced a new concept that allows currents up to ten times greater during charging and discharging than previously described in the literature. The improvement was achieved by a “clever” choice of materials with a focus on consistently good compatibility. All components were made from phosphate compounds, which are well matched both chemically and mechanically.

The low current is considered one of the biggest hurdles in the development of solid-state batteries. It is the reason why the batteries take a relatively long...

Im Focus: Color effects from transparent 3D-printed nanostructures

New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference

Most of the objects we see are colored by pigments, but using pigments has disadvantages: such colors can fade, industrial pigments are often toxic, and...

Im Focus: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

LaserForum 2018 deals with 3D production of components

17.08.2018 | Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

A paper battery powered by bacteria

21.08.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Protein interaction helps Yersinia cause disease

21.08.2018 | Life Sciences

Biosensor allows real-time oxygen monitoring for 'organs-on-a-chip'

21.08.2018 | Medical Engineering

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>