Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Human stem cells delay start of Lou Gehrig's disease in rats

17.10.2006
Researchers at Johns Hopkins have shown that transplanting human stem cells into spinal cords of rats bred to duplicate Lou Gehrig's disease delays the start of nerve cell damage typical of the disease and slightly prolongs life.

The grafted stem cells develop into nerve cells that make substantial connections with existing nerves and do not themselves succumb to Lou Gehrig's, also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The study is published in this week's issue of Transplantation.

"We were extremely surprised to see that the grafted stem cells were not negatively affected by the degenerating cells around them, as many feared introducing healthy cells into a diseased environment would only kill them," says Vassilis Koliatsos, M.D., an associate professor of pathology and neuroscience at Hopkins.

Although all the rats eventually died of ALS, Koliatsos believes his experiments offer "proof of principle" for stem cell grafts and that a more complete transplant of cells - already being planned -- along the full length of the spine to affect upper body nerves and muscles as well might lead to longer survival in the same rats.

"We only injected cells in the lower spine, affecting only the nerves and muscles below the waist," he noted. "The nerves and muscles above the waist, especially those in the chest responsible for breathing, were not helped by these transplanted stem cells."

The research team used so-called SOD-1 rats, animals engineered to carry a mutated human gene for an inherited form of ALS. As in human ALS, the rats experience slow nerve cell death where all the muscles in the body eventually become paralyzed. The particular SOD-1 rats in the study developed an "especially aggressive" form of the disease.

Adult rats not yet showing symptoms were injected in the lower spine with human neural stem cells - cells that can in theory become any type found in the nervous system. As a comparison, the researchers injected rats with dead human stem cells, which would not affect disease progression. Both groups of rats were treated with drugs to prevent transplant rejection.

The rats were weighed and tested for strength twice a week for 15 weeks. Weight loss, according to Koliatsos, indicates disease onset. On average, rats injected with live stem cells started losing weight at 59 days and lived for 86 days after injection, whereas control rats injected with dead stem cells started losing weight at 52 days and lived for 75 days after injection.

The rats were coaxed to crawl uphill on an angled plank, and their overall strength was calculated by considering the highest angle they could cling to for five seconds without sliding backwards. While all the rats grew progressively weaker, those injected with live cells did so much more slowly than those injected with dead cells.

Close examination of the transplanted cells also revealed that more than 70 percent of them developed into nerve cells, and many of those grew new endings connecting to other cells in the rat's spinal cord.

"These stem cells differentiate massively into neurons," says Koliatsos, "a pleasant surprise given that the spinal cord has long been considered an environment unfavorable to this type of transformation."

Another important feature of the transplanted cells is their ability to make nerve-cell-specific proteins and growth factors. The researchers measured five-times more of one particular factor, known as GNDF (short for glial cell derived neurotrophic factor) in spinal cord fluid. The transformation of the transplanted cells also may allow them to deliver these growth factors to other cells in the spinal cord through physical connections.

Cautioning that clinical applications are still far from possible, Koliatsos hopes to take further advantage of his rodents with ALS to learn as much as possible about how human stem cells behave when transplanted.

Audrey Huang | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.jhmi.edu

Further reports about: Gehrig' Koliatsos Nerve rats stem cells transplant transplanted

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Climate Impact Research in Hannover: Small Plants against Large Waves
17.08.2018 | Leibniz Universität Hannover

nachricht First transcription atlas of all wheat genes expands prospects for research and cultivation
17.08.2018 | Leibniz-Institut für Pflanzengenetik und Kulturpflanzenforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

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....

Im Focus: The “TRiC” to folding actin

Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.

Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...

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

Smallest transistor worldwide switches current with a single atom in solid electrolyte

17.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Robots as Tools and Partners in Rehabilitation

17.08.2018 | Information Technology

Climate Impact Research in Hannover: Small Plants against Large Waves

17.08.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>