Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Neurons developed from stem cells successfully wired with other brain regions in animals

Date:
January 24, 2010
Source:
Society for Neuroscience
Summary:
Transplanted neurons grown from embryonic stem cells can fully integrate into the brains of young animals, according to new research. Healthy brains have stable and precise connections between cells that are necessary for normal behavior. This new finding is the first to show that stem cells can be directed not only to become specific brain cells, but to link correctly.

This is a single stem cell-derived neuron that has migrated away from the transplantation site in the cortex and grown into a mature neuron. The blue stain shows the nuclei of the endogenous neural cells in this part of the brain.
Credit: Courtesy, with permission: Weimann et al. The Journal of Neuroscience 2010.

Transplanted neurons grown from embryonic stem cells can fully integrate into the brains of young animals, according to new research in the Jan. 20 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience.

Related Articles


Healthy brains have stable and precise connections between cells that are necessary for normal behavior. This new finding is the first to show that stem cells can be directed not only to become specific brain cells, but to link correctly.

In this study, a team of neuroscientists led by James Weimann, PhD, of Stanford Medical School focused on cells that transmit information from the brain's cortex, some of which are responsible for muscle control. It is these neurons that are lost or damaged in spinal cord injuries and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). "These stem cell-derived neurons can grow nerve fibers between the brain's cerebral cortex and the spinal cord, so this study confirms the use of stem cells for therapeutic goals," Weimann said.

To integrate new cells into a brain successfully, the researchers first had to condition unspecialized cells to become specific cells in the brain's cortex. Cells that were precursors to cortical neurons were grown in a Petri dish until they displayed many of the same characteristics as mature neurons. The young neurons were then transplanted into the brains of newborn mice -- specifically, into regions of the cortex responsible for vision, touch, and movement.

Until now, making these proper cellular connections has been a fundamental problem in nervous system transplant therapy. In this case, the maturing neurons extended to the appropriate brain structures, and, just as importantly, avoided inappropriate areas. For example, cells transplanted into the visual cortex reached two deep brain structures called the superior colliculus and the pons, but not to the spinal cord; cells placed into the motor area of the cortex stretched into the spinal cord but avoided the colliculus.

"The authors show that appropriate connectivity for one important class of projection neurons can be obtained in newborn animals," said Mahendra Rao, MD, PhD, an expert in stem cell biology at Life Technology, who was unaffiliated with the study.

The researchers also compared two methods used to grow transplantable cells, only one of which produced the desired results. "The authors provide a protocol for how to get the right kind of neurons to show appropriate connectivity," Rao said. "It's a huge advance in the practical use of these cells."

Researchers will now explore whether the same results can be achieved in adult animals and, ultimately, humans. Weimann and his colleagues also hope to understand how the transplanted cells "knew" to connect in precisely the right way, and whether they can generate the right behaviors, such as vision and movement.

The research was supported by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, the Roman Reed Spinal Cord Injury Research Fund, and The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine.


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

Society for Neuroscience. "Neurons developed from stem cells successfully wired with other brain regions in animals." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 January 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100119172751.htm>.
Society for Neuroscience. (2010, January 24). Neurons developed from stem cells successfully wired with other brain regions in animals. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100119172751.htm
Society for Neuroscience. "Neurons developed from stem cells successfully wired with other brain regions in animals." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100119172751.htm (accessed October 24, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, October 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) Conflicting studies published in the same week re-ignited the debate over whether we should be eating breakfast. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Fears Keep Guinea Hospitals Empty

Ebola Fears Keep Guinea Hospitals Empty

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) Fears of Ebola are keeping doctors and patients alike away from hospitals in the West African nation of Guinea. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Despite Rising Death Toll, Many Survive Ebola

Despite Rising Death Toll, Many Survive Ebola

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) The family of a Dallas nurse infected with Ebola in the US says doctors can no longer detect the virus in her. Despite the mounting death toll in West Africa, there are survivors there too. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) Is your child ready? Video provided by Working Mother
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