Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Bone Marrow Fusion With Nerve Cells May Repair Damage, Stanford Researchers Say

Date:
October 16, 2003
Source:
Stanford University Medical Center
Summary:
Bone marrow cells can fuse with specialized brain cells, possibly bolstering the brain cells or repairing damage, according to research from the Stanford University School of Medicine. This finding helps resolve an ongoing debate: Do adult stem cells transform from bone marrow cells into other cell types, such as brain, muscle or liver cells, or do they fuse with those cells to form a single entity with two nuclei?

STANFORD, Calif. - Bone marrow cells can fuse with specialized brain cells, possibly bolstering the brain cells or repairing damage, according to research from the Stanford University School of Medicine. This finding helps resolve an ongoing debate: Do adult stem cells transform from bone marrow cells into other cell types, such as brain, muscle or liver cells, or do they fuse with those cells to form a single entity with two nuclei? The research shows that for complex brain cells called Purkinje cells, fusion is the normal pathway.

Helen Blau, PhD, the Donald E. and Delia B. Baxter Professor of Pharmacology, had previously shown that transplanted bone marrow cells can wind their way up to the brain in humans where they take on characteristics of Purkinje cells - large cells in the part of the brain that controls muscular movement and balance. She had also shown that mature cells in a lab dish can fuse with other cell types and take on characteristics of those cells.

In her most recent work, published in the Oct. 16 advance online issue of Nature Cell Biology, Blau showed that the bone marrow cells in mice fuse with existing Purkinje cells and activate genes normally made in Purkinje cell nuclei. The work will also be published in the November issue of the journal.

"I think that fusion might be a really important biological mechanism," Blau said. She said researchers previously considered fusion to be less medically important than the idea that bone marrow cells may be able to change fates entirely. Blau disagrees with that assessment. "Fusion might be a sophisticated mechanism for rescuing complex damaged cells," she said.

Blau and senior research scientist James Weimann, PhD, transplanted mice with bone marrow cells that had been genetically altered to produce a fluorescent green protein. Over the course of the next 18 months (75 percent of a mouse's life span), they looked for signs of fluorescent green cells in the animals' brains.

Over time, the group found an increasing number of Purkinje cells that glowed green under a microscope. Looking closely at these cells, they found two nuclei - one from the original Purkinje cell and one from the fused bone marrow cell. They also found that the compact nucleus of the bone marrow cell expanded over time to take on the appearance of the more loosely packed Purkinje cell nucleus.

The bone marrow nucleus in the fused cell also acts like a Purkinje cell nucleus, they found. When the group transplanted mice with bone marrow cells that only glow green when Purkinje cell genes are active, they found normal-looking Purkinje cells that glowed green. This showed that the bone marrow cells had fused with Purkinje cells and activated Purkinje cell genes.

Blau said the next step is to learn under what circumstances bone marrow cells fuse with Purkinje cells. "If you know what those signals are, you could deliver the signal to damaged tissue and recruit the body's own bone marrow cells to treat disease." Blau hopes these recruited bone marrow cells may be a way of repairing damage caused by injury, stroke or such illnesses Parkinson's disease.

Other Stanford researchers who participated in the study include postdoctoral scholar Clas Johansson, PhD, and research associate Angelica Trejo.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Stanford University Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Stanford University Medical Center. "Bone Marrow Fusion With Nerve Cells May Repair Damage, Stanford Researchers Say." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 October 2003. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/10/031016063728.htm>.
Stanford University Medical Center. (2003, October 16). Bone Marrow Fusion With Nerve Cells May Repair Damage, Stanford Researchers Say. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/10/031016063728.htm
Stanford University Medical Center. "Bone Marrow Fusion With Nerve Cells May Repair Damage, Stanford Researchers Say." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/10/031016063728.htm (accessed September 23, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Liberia Pleads for Help to Fight Ebola

Liberia Pleads for Help to Fight Ebola

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) Liberia's finance minister is urging the international community to quickly follow through on pledges of cash to battle Ebola. Bodies are piling up in the capital Monrovia as the nation awaits more help. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Doctor Says Border Controls Critical

Ebola Doctor Says Border Controls Critical

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) A Florida doctor who helped fight the expanding Ebola outbreak in West Africa says the disease can be stopped, but only if nations quickly step up their response and make border control a priority. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Global Ebola Aid Increasing But Critics Say It's Late

Global Ebola Aid Increasing But Critics Say It's Late

Newsy (Sep. 21, 2014) More than 100 tons of medical supplies were sent to West Africa on Saturday, but aid workers say the global response is still sluggish. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

AP (Sep. 21, 2014) Sierra Leone residents remained in lockdown on Saturday as part of a massive effort to confine millions of people to their homes in a bid to stem the biggest Ebola outbreak in history. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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