Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Motor Nerve Cell 'Factory' Findings May Elicit Treatments For Spinal Cord Injury, Disease

Date:
June 5, 2003
Source:
Salk Institute
Summary:
Manufacturing motor nerve cells may someday be possible to help restore function in victims of spinal cord injury or such diseases of motion as Parkinson’s and Lou Gehrig’s disease or post-polio syndrome, a Salk Institute research study has found.

La Jolla, Calif. — Manufacturing motor nerve cells may someday be possible to help restore function in victims of spinal cord injury or such diseases of motion as Parkinson’s and Lou Gehrig’s disease or post-polio syndrome, a Salk Institute research study has found.

Salk Associate Professor Sam Pfaff and postdoctoral fellow Soo-Kyung Lee reported in a paper in the June 5 issue of Neuron that they constructed a detailed model of how stem cells are prodded, regulated and otherwise encouraged to become not only nerve cells, but specifically motor neurons that the body relies on to move muscles and limbs throughout the body.

The study provides the first blueprint for the cellular factory that produces motor neurons from embryonic stem cells. It could eventually result in new treatments for spinal cord injury, and other diseases that affect motor nerve cells.

“In the embryonic nervous system, many types of neurons are generated with distinct properties, “ said Pfaff. “We used nature as a model to understand how genes interact to develop motor nerves in the spinal cord. This study showed an unusually efficient yield of 60 percent motor nerves.”

Working with chick embryo cells, the researchers achieved this efficiency by tracing how two important gene and protein-regulated pathways of nerve generation collaborate to create specialized nerve cells, including motor neurons. One pathway, called bHLH (short for basic-helix-loop-helix), creates a wide range of neurons from simple stem cells. The other pathway, called LIM Homeodomain (or LIM-D), determines what type of neuron is produced.

This study demonstrates how these two pathways interact, comprising the cellular factory that makes motor neuron. Using biochemical techniques and testing mutations in key pathway genes, Pfaff and his team worked out a model for how these nerve cells were formed. Knowing how this model works is crucial for producing new neurons, especially in adults.

“In adults, the growth cues that produce motor neurons from stem cells are gone,” said Pfaff. “The signaling is gone after development is over, denying new, transplanted cells any cues for growth. This model, if it proves effective in humans, may help re-create those cues to help treat these injuries and diseases.”

The principles that emerge from this study provide a framework for generating other classes of neurons such as those affected in Parkinson’s disease. Because there currently is no effective treatment for these disorders, this study and similar scientific investments in understanding the basic mechanisms of growth and injury may pay off in future treatments.

###

Pfaff’s work is supported by the National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Stroke, the Pew Charitable Trusts and the G. Harold and Leila Y. Mathers and Chun foundations.

The Salk Institute for Biological Studies, located in La Jolla, Calif., is an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to fundamental discoveries in the life sciences, the improvement of human health and conditions, and the training of future generations of researchers. Jonas Salk, M.D., founded the institute in 1960 with a gift of land from the City of San Diego and the financial support of the March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Salk Institute. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Salk Institute. "Motor Nerve Cell 'Factory' Findings May Elicit Treatments For Spinal Cord Injury, Disease." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 June 2003. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/06/030605082846.htm>.
Salk Institute. (2003, June 5). Motor Nerve Cell 'Factory' Findings May Elicit Treatments For Spinal Cord Injury, Disease. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/06/030605082846.htm
Salk Institute. "Motor Nerve Cell 'Factory' Findings May Elicit Treatments For Spinal Cord Injury, Disease." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/06/030605082846.htm (accessed September 1, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Monday, September 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Get on Your Bike! London Cycling Popularity Soars Despite Danger

Get on Your Bike! London Cycling Popularity Soars Despite Danger

AFP (Sep. 1, 2014) Wedged between buses, lorries and cars, cycling in London isn't for the faint hearted. Nevertheless the number of people choosing to bike in the British capital has doubled over the past 15 years. Duration: 02:27 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Newsy (Sep. 1, 2014) New research says if you condition yourself to eat healthy foods, eventually you'll crave them instead of junk food. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) A new study suggests 100 percent of adult humans (those over 18 years of age) have Demodex mites living in their faces. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Liberia Continues Fight Against Ebola

Liberia Continues Fight Against Ebola

AFP (Aug. 30, 2014) Authorities in Liberia try to stem the spread of the Ebola epidemic by raising awareness and setting up sanitation units for people to wash their hands. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins