Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Neurons made from stem cells drive brain activity after transplantation in laboratory model

Date:
November 15, 2012
Source:
Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute
Summary:
Scientists are able to make neurons and other brain cells from stem cells, but getting these neurons to properly function when transplanted to a host has proven more difficult. Now, researchers have found a way to stimulate stem cell-derived neurons to direct cognitive function after transplantation to an existing neural network.

Illustration of a neural network. Researchers have found a way to stimulate stem cell-derived neurons to direct cognitive function after transplantation to an existing neural network.
Credit: © nobeastsofierce / Fotolia

Researchers and patients look forward to the day when stem cells might be used to replace dying brain cells in Alzheimer's disease and other neurodegenerative conditions. Scientists are currently able to make neurons and other brain cells from stem cells, but getting these neurons to properly function when transplanted to the host has proven to be more difficult. Now, researchers at Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute have found a way to stimulate stem cell-derived neurons to direct cognitive function after transplantation to an existing neural network.

Related Articles


The study was published November 7 in the Journal of Neuroscience.

"We showed for the first time that embryonic stem cells that we've programmed to become neurons can integrate into existing brain circuits and fire patterns of electrical activity that are critical for consciousness and neural network activity," said Stuart A. Lipton, M.D., Ph.D., senior author of the study. Lipton is director of Sanford-Burnham's Del E. Webb Neuroscience, Aging, and Stem Cell Research Center and a clinical neurologist.

The trick turned out to be light. Lipton and his team -- including Juan Piña-Crespo, Ph.D., D.V.M., Maria Talantova, M.D., Ph.D., and other colleagues at Sanford-Burnham and Stanford University -- transplanted human stem cell-derived neurons into a rodent hippocampus, the brain's information-processing center. Then they specifically activated the transplanted neurons with optogenetic stimulation, a relatively new technique that combines light and genetics to precisely control cellular behavior in living tissues or animals.

To determine if the newly transplanted, light-stimulated human neurons were actually working, Lipton and his team measured high-frequency oscillations in existing neurons at a distance from the transplanted ones. They found that the transplanted neurons triggered the existing neurons to fire high-frequency oscillations. Faster neuronal oscillations are usually better -- they're associated with enhanced performance in sensory-motor and cognitive tasks.

To sum it up, the transplanted human neurons not only conducted electrical impulses, they also roused neighboring neuronal networks into firing -- at roughly the same rate they would in a normal, functioning hippocampus.

The therapeutic outlook for this technology looks promising. "Based on these results, we might be able to restore brain activity -- and thus restore motor and cognitive function -- by transplanting easily manipulated neuronal cells derived from embryonic stem cells," Lipton said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute. The original article was written by Heather Buschman. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. J. C. Pina-Crespo, M. Talantova, E.-G. Cho, W. Soussou, N. Dolatabadi, S. D. Ryan, R. Ambasudhan, S. McKercher, K. Deisseroth, S. A. Lipton. High-Frequency Hippocampal Oscillations Activated by Optogenetic Stimulation of Transplanted Human ESC-Derived Neurons. Journal of Neuroscience, 2012; 32 (45): 15837 DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3735-12.2012

Cite This Page:

Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute. "Neurons made from stem cells drive brain activity after transplantation in laboratory model." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 November 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121115152657.htm>.
Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute. (2012, November 15). Neurons made from stem cells drive brain activity after transplantation in laboratory model. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121115152657.htm
Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute. "Neurons made from stem cells drive brain activity after transplantation in laboratory model." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121115152657.htm (accessed October 26, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Texas Nurse Nina Pham Cured of Ebola

Texas Nurse Nina Pham Cured of Ebola

AFP (Oct. 25, 2014) — An American nurse who contracted Ebola while caring for a Liberian patient in Texas has been declared free of the virus and will leave the hospital. Duration: 01:01 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Toxin-Packed Stem Cells Used To Kill Cancer

Toxin-Packed Stem Cells Used To Kill Cancer

Newsy (Oct. 25, 2014) — A Harvard University Research Team created genetically engineered stem cells that are able to kill cancer cells, while leaving other cells unharmed. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

Buzz60 (Oct. 24, 2014) — IKEA is out with a new convertible desk that can convert from a sitting desk to a standing one with just the push of a button. Jen Markham explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

AFP (Oct. 24, 2014) — A factory in China is busy making Ebola protective suits for healthcare workers and others fighting the spread of the virus. Duration: 00:38 Video provided by AFP
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