Putnam Valley, NY. (June 5, 2014) A study by a Korean team of neuroscientists has concluded that when mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs; multipotent structural stem cells capable of differentiation into a variety of cell types) are transplanted into the brains of mice modeled with Alzheimer's disease (AD), the cells stimulate neural cell growth and repair in the hippocampus, a key brain area damaged by AD. The finding could lead to improved AD therapies.
The study will be published in a future issue of Cell Transplantation and is currently freely available on-line as an unedited early e-pub at: http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/cog/ct/pre-prints/content-CT1059Oh.
Neuroscientists know that Alzheimer's disease is caused by the presence of amyloid-B (AB) "plaques" and "tangles" in the brain's network of neurons. Recently, a protein signaling pathway called "Wnt" (Wingless-type mouse mammary tumor virus (MMTV) related integration site family) which plays a role in embryonic development as well as the development of some diseases, such as cancer, has been linked to Alzheimer's disease. Researchers speculate that an interruption in the Wnt pathway signaling process caused by the AB plaque buildup may have an impact on potential brain cell renewal processes, called neurogenesis. Evidence has indicated that the Wnt signaling pathway plays an important role in the pathogenesis of AD.
This study was carried out to determine if MSCs benefitted neurogenesis in the hippocampus by "modulating" the Wnt pathway in such a way that that the MSCs are able to differentiate into neuronal progenitor cells (NPCs) that could help rebuild the affected areas of the brain.
"Recent studies have shown that MSCs express various proteins related to the Wnt pathway," said study co-author Dr. Phil Hyu Lee, Department of Neurology, Yonsei Universi
|Contact: Robert Miranda|
Cell Transplantation Center of Excellence for Aging and Brain Repair