Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New class of stem cell-like cells discovered offers possibility for spinal cord repair

Date:
September 16, 2011
Source:
Allen Institute for Brain Science
Summary:
Scientists have announced the discovery of a new class of cells in the spinal cord that act like neural stem cells, offering a fresh avenue in the search for therapies to treat spinal cord injury and disease.

The Allen Institute for Brain Science has announced the discovery of a new class of cells in the spinal cord that act like neural stem cells, offering a fresh avenue in the search for therapies to treat spinal cord injury and disease. The research team utilized the Allen Spinal Cord Atlas, a finely detailed genome-wide map of gene expression throughout the mouse spinal cord, to compare the genes expressed, or turned on, in adult spinal cord radial glia with those found in other neural stem cells, revealing a signature set of 122 genes that indicate the likeness of these cells to classic neural stem cells.

The published collaborative study, authored by scientists from the University of British Columbia, the Allen Institute for Brain Science and The Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital at McGill University, appears in the open access journal PLoS One.

The nervous system has historically been thought to be incapable of repairing itself, as the cells used to create it are exhausted during development. With the identification of these new stem cell-like radial glial cells, it may be possible to activate a certain set of genes in order to encourage those cells to reconstruct a damaged network in the adult spinal cord.

"By using the Allen Spinal Cord Atlas, we were able to discover a brand new cell type that has previously been overlooked and that could be an important player in all manner of spinal cord injury and disease, including multiple sclerosis and ALS," said Jane Roskams, Ph.D., neuroscientist at the University of British Columbia and senior author of the study.

From disabled veterans to those afflicted with Lou Gehrig's disease (ALS) or Spinal Muscular Atrophy, spinal cord related diseases and disorders affect people of all ages including nearly one-quarter of a million Americans who have suffered from a spinal cord injury; as many as 30,000 Americans who suffer from ALS at any given time; and approximately 2.5 million people worldwide who suffer from multiple sclerosis.

"This is a tremendous example of how our public atlas resources can lead to critical discoveries that offer promising avenues for developing much needed new clinical therapies," said Allan Jones, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of the Allen Institute.

Dr. Roskams, who led the collaborative research team, has said that it is possible this pool of cells was overlooked because of its unusual location, and because scientists have been working with limited information. With the availability of the public, online Allen Spinal Cord Atlas, the information accessible to researchers has been vastly increased.

In the search for neural stem cells, scientists have been using a few known genes as clues to find candidates deep in the middle of the spinal cord. While some neural stem cells have been discovered there, the newly identified class of spinal cord radial glia run along the edge of the spinal cord, an incredibly convenient location for activating them with minimal secondary damage to help the spinal cord repair during disease or after injury.

"When we first saw known neural stem cell genes appearing in these cells on the edge of the cord, I realized we not only had a brand new cell, but had the capacity to reveal a new gene set that may also guide us to hidden neural stem cells in atypical locations in the brain. I did not expect so many of them to link to human diseases," Dr. Roskams said.

Identifying these cells and the genes relevant to activate them opens fresh new pathways to explore effective therapies to treat spinal cord injury and several types of neurodegenerative disease.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Audrey Petit, Ashley D. Sanders, Timothy E. Kennedy, Wolfram Tetzlaff, Katie J. Glattfelder, Rachel A. Dalley, Ralph B. Puchalski, Allan R. Jones, A. Jane Roskams. Adult Spinal Cord Radial Glia Display a Unique Progenitor Phenotype. PLoS ONE, 2011; 6 (9): e24538 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0024538

Cite This Page:

Allen Institute for Brain Science. "New class of stem cell-like cells discovered offers possibility for spinal cord repair." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 September 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110915114004.htm>.
Allen Institute for Brain Science. (2011, September 16). New class of stem cell-like cells discovered offers possibility for spinal cord repair. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110915114004.htm
Allen Institute for Brain Science. "New class of stem cell-like cells discovered offers possibility for spinal cord repair." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110915114004.htm (accessed September 2, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

U.N. Says Ebola Travel Restrictions Will Cause Food Shortage

U.N. Says Ebola Travel Restrictions Will Cause Food Shortage

Newsy (Sep. 2, 2014) The U.N. says the problem is two-fold — quarantine zones and travel restrictions are limiting the movement of both people and food. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
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

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:

More Coverage


New Type of Spinal Cord Stem Cell Discovered: Research Provides New Target for Regenerating Parts of the Central Nervous System

Sep. 15, 2011 Scientists have discovered a type of spinal cord cell that could function as a stem cell, with the ability to regenerate portions of the central nervous system in people with spinal cord injuries, ... read more
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