Navigation Links
For first time, brain cells generated in a dish

Regenerative medicine scientists at the University of Florida's McKnight Brain Institute have created a system in rodent models that for the first time duplicates neurogenesis -- the process of generating new brain cells -- in a dish.

Writing in today's (June 13) Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers describe a cell culture method that holds the promise of producing a limitless supply of a person's own brain cells to potentially heal disorders such as Parkinson's disease or epilepsy.

"It's like an assembly line to manufacture and increase the number of brain cells," said Bjorn Scheffler, M.D., a neuroscientist with UF's College of Medicine. "We can basically take these cells and freeze them until we need them. Then we thaw them, begin a cell-generating process, and produce a ton of new neurons."

If the discovery can translate to human applications, it will enhance efforts aimed at finding ways to use large numbers of a person's own cells to restore damaged brain function, partially because the technique produces cells in far greater amounts than the body can on its own.

In addition, the discovery pinpoints the cell that is truly what people refer to when they say "stem cell." Although the term is used frequently to describe immature cells that are the building blocks of bones, skin, flesh and organs, the actual stem cell as it exists in the brain has been enigmatic, according to Dennis Steindler, Ph.D., executive director of the McKnight Brain Institute and senior author of the paper. Its general location was known, but it was an obscure species in a sea of cell types.

"We've isolated for the first time what appears to be the true candidate stem cell," said Steindler, a neuroscientist and member of UF's Program of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine. "There have been other candidates, but in this case we used a special microscope that allows us to watch living cells over long periods of time throu gh a method called live-cell microscopy, so we've actually witnessed the stem cell give rise to new neurons. Possibly a different method may come up to identify the mother of all stem cells, but we're confident this is it."

During experiments, scientists collected cells from mice and used chemicals to induce them to differentiate. During the process, they snapped images of the cells every five minutes for up to 30 hours and compiled the images into movies. Traditional ways to attempt neurogenesis have been unable to so closely duplicate the natural process. They also haven't allowed scientists to monitor the entire sequence of cell development from primitive states to functional neurons and expose the electrophysiological properties of the cells.

A little more than a decade ago, scientists came to realize that the brain continues to produce small amounts of new cells even in adulthood, overturning the belief that people are born with a fixed amount of brain cells that must last them throughout their lives.

In people, stem cells develop naturally into full-fledged brain cells as they travel through a neural pathway that begins deep within the brain in a region called the subventricular zone. The primitive cells mature along the way, finishing as neurons in a spot called the olfactory bulb.

In the laboratory cultures, the cells still move about, but the pathway is no longer important, showing that neurogenesis does not necessarily require the environmental cues of the host brain.

The natural development of stem cells in the brain is very similar to the lifelong production of blood cells in the human body called hematopoiesis, with "poiesis" derived from the Greek word meaning "to make."

Scientists in Steindler's lab noticed the similarities between primitive cell development in blood and in the brain in the late 1990s, calling the process "neuropoiesis."

"The exciting part is we are actually using methods that re searchers involved with hematopoiesis used," Scheffler said. "Those researchers took primitive cells, put them in a dish and watched them perform. From that, they learned vital information for clinical applications such as bone marrow transplants. Now we have a tool to do exactly the same thing."

By watching the cells perform, scientists can make judgments and influence the capacity of the cells to generate specific neurons.

"As far as regenerating parts of the brain that have degenerated, such as in Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease and others of that nature, the ability to regenerate the needed cell type and placing it in the correct spot would have major impact," said Dr. Eric Holland, a neurosurgeon at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York who specializes in the treatment of brain tumors, but who is not connected to the research. "In terms of tumors, it's known that stem-like cells have characteristics much like cancer cells. Knowing what makes these cells tick may help by furthering our knowledge of the biology of the tumor."


'"/>

Source:University of Florida


Related biology news :

1. A genes first kiss sets off that affair known as puberty
2. Love at first smell
3. Worlds largest rainforest drying experiment completes first phase
4. PCRM develops worlds first cruelty-free insulin assay
5. Expression Project for Oncology (expO) completes first phase of standardized gene expression analyses
6. World-first Living Donor Islet Cell Transplant A Success; Procedure Offers Promise For Diabetics
7. DuPonts first biologically derived polymer receives global recognition
8. Anti cancer virotherapy well tolerated in first human administration, research finds
9. Unlike other mammals, newborn dolphins and orcas stay active 24/7 during first months of development
10. The first impact factor for PLoS Biology ?13.9
11. Moffitt-USF head toward first human trials of anti-cancer drug that targets protein AKT
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:6/16/2016)... June 16, 2016 The ... expected to reach USD 1.83 billion by 2024, ... Research, Inc. Technological proliferation and increasing demand in ... expected to drive the market growth. ... The development of advanced multimodal techniques for ...
(Date:6/3/2016)... LONDON , June 3, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... Transport Management) von Nepal ... ,Angebot und Lieferung hochsicherer geprägter Kennzeichen, einschließlich ... weltweit führend in der Produktion und Implementierung ... an der Ausschreibung im Januar teilgenommen, aber ...
(Date:5/24/2016)... Ampronix facilitates superior patient care by providing unparalleled technology to leaders of the medical ... premium product recently added to the range of products distributed by Ampronix. ... ... ... Ampronix News ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/22/2016)... Research and Markets has announced the addition of the ... The global biomarkers market has ... The market is expected to grow at a five-year compound annual ... $50.6 billion in 2015 to $96.6 billion in 2020. ... to 2020) are discussed. As well, new products approved in 2013 ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... LOS ANGELES , June 22, 2016   ... an SNNLive Video Interview with Dr. Nader Pourhassan ... a biotechnology company focused on the clinical development and ... and prevention of HIV infection, according to the company,s ... was recorded on Tuesday, June 7 th , 2016, ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... DIEGO , June 22, 2016   ViaCyte, ... first pluripotent stem cell-derived islet replacement therapy for the ... presentations at ISSCR 2016 Annual Meeting.  ISSCR 2016, the ... to 25th at Moscone West in San Francisco.  ... of the presentations are as follows:Event: , Focus Session: ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 22, 2016 , ... ... at placing a spotlight on immigrant achievements and contributions to North Texas and ... most important contributors from the immigrant community to the civic and economic vitality ...
Breaking Biology Technology: