Stem cells isolated from the brain of adult mice (adult neural stem cells [aNSCs]) have shown very modest therapeutic effects in a mouse model of the chronic inflammatory neurodegenerative disease multiple sclerosis.
But now, Guang-Xian Zhang and colleagues, at Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, have developed an approach to enhance the therapeutic effects of aNSCs in this model of multiple sclerosis.
The research is reported in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.
Specifically, the researchers genetically engineered aNSCs to express the anti-inflammatory molecule IL-10 and found that these cells induced more extensive functional and pathological recovery from ongoing disease than did nonengineered aNSCs. Importantly, the IL-10-aNSCs mediated their effects in multiple ways, suppressing immune system attack of nerve cells, promoting nerve cell repair, and promoting production of the nerve cell protective sheath.
The authors hope these results might increase the chance that aNSC-based therapies might one day be developed for clinical use.
- Yang et al. Adult neural stem cells expressing IL-10 confer potent immunomodulation and remyelination in experimental autoimmune encephalitis. Journal of Clinical Investigation, 2009; DOI: 10.1172/JCI37914
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