Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Neural Stem Cells May Rescue Memory In Advanced Alzheimer's, Mouse Study Suggests

Date:
July 22, 2009
Source:
University of California - Irvine
Summary:
Scientists have shown for the first time that neural stem cells can rescue memory in mice with advanced Alzheimer's disease, raising hopes of a potential treatment for the leading cause of elderly dementia that afflicts 5.3 million people in the US. Transplanted cells 'nurse' brain back to health.

Frank LaFerla, left, Mathew Blurton-Jones and colleagues found that neural stem cells could be a potential treatment for advanced Alzheimer's disease.
Credit: Daniel A. Anderson / University Communications

UC Irvine scientists have shown for the first time that neural stem cells can rescue memory in mice with advanced Alzheimer's disease, raising hopes of a potential treatment for the leading cause of elderly dementia that afflicts 5.3 million people in the U.S.

Mice genetically engineered to have Alzheimer's performed markedly better on memory tests a month after mouse neural stem cells were injected into their brains. The stem cells secreted a protein that created more neural connections, improving cognitive function.

"Essentially, the cells were producing fertilizer for the brain," said Frank LaFerla, director of UCI's Institute for Memory Impairments and Neurological Disorders, or UCI MIND, and co-author of the study, which appears online the week of July 20 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Lead author Mathew Blurton-Jones, LaFerla and colleagues worked with older mice predisposed to develop brains lesions called plaques and tangles that are the hallmarks of Alzheimer's.

To learn how the stem cells worked, the scientists examined the mouse brains. To their surprise, they discovered that just 6 percent of the stem cells had turned into neurons. (The majority became the other two main types of brain cells, astrocytes and oligodendrocytes.) The stem cells didn't improve cognition by becoming new neurons, nor did they act by reducing the number of plaques and tangles.

Rather, the stem cells were found to have secreted a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor, or BDNF. This caused existing tissue to sprout new neurites, strengthening and increasing the number of connections between neurons. When the team selectively reduced BDNF from the stem cells, the benefit was lost, providing strong evidence that BDNF is critical to the effect of stem cells on memory and neuronal function.

"If you look at Alzheimer's, it's not the plaques and tangles that correlate best with dementia; it's the loss of synapses – connections between neurons," Blurton-Jones said. "The neural stem cells were helping the brain form new synapses and nursing the injured neurons back to health."

Diseased mice injected directly with BDNF also improved cognitively but not as much as with the neural stem cells, which provided a more long-term and consistent supply of the protein.

"This gives us a lot of hope that stem cells or a product from them, such as BDNF, will be a useful treatment for Alzheimer's," LaFerla said.

In April, LaFerla, Blurton-Jones and colleagues were awarded $3.6 million by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine toward the development of an Alzheimer's therapy involving human neural stem cells.

In addition to LaFerla and Blurton-Jones, Masashi Kitazawa, Hilda Martinez-Coria, Nicholas Castello, Tritia Yamasaki, Wayne Poon and Kim Green of UCI worked on the study, along with Franz-Josef Muller and Jeanne Loring of the Scripps Research Institute. Funding for the study was provided by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine and the National Institutes of Health.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California - Irvine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of California - Irvine. "Neural Stem Cells May Rescue Memory In Advanced Alzheimer's, Mouse Study Suggests." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 July 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090720190726.htm>.
University of California - Irvine. (2009, July 22). Neural Stem Cells May Rescue Memory In Advanced Alzheimer's, Mouse Study Suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090720190726.htm
University of California - Irvine. "Neural Stem Cells May Rescue Memory In Advanced Alzheimer's, Mouse Study Suggests." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090720190726.htm (accessed October 22, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

CDC Revamps Ebola Guidelines After Criticism

CDC Revamps Ebola Guidelines After Criticism

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued new protocols for healthcare workers interacting with Ebola patients. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO: Ebola Vaccine Trials to Start a in January

WHO: Ebola Vaccine Trials to Start a in January

AP (Oct. 21, 2014) Tens of thousands of doses of experimental Ebola vaccines could be available for "real-world" testing in West Africa as soon as January as long as they are deemed safe in soon to start trials, the World Health Organization said Tuesday. (Oct. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) A medical team has for the first time given a man the ability to walk again after transplanting cells from his brain onto his severed spinal cord. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
CDC Issues New Ebola Guidelines for Health Workers

CDC Issues New Ebola Guidelines for Health Workers

Reuters - US Online Video (Oct. 21, 2014) The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has set up new guidelines for health workers taking care of patients infected with Ebola. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
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