Navigation Links
A first: Brain support cells from umbilical cord stem cells
Date:1/17/2012

ORLANDO, Jan. 17, 2012 -- For the first time ever, stem cells from umbilical cords have been converted into other types of cells, which may eventually lead to new treatment options for spinal cord injuries and multiple sclerosis, among other nervous system diseases.

"This is the first time this has been done with non-embryonic stem cells," says James Hickman, a University of Central Florida bioengineer and leader of the research group, whose accomplishment is described in the Jan. 18 issue of the journal ACS Chemical Neuroscience. http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/cn200082q?prevSearch=Hickman&searchHistoryKey=

"We're very excited about where this could lead because it overcomes many of the obstacles present with embryonic stem cells."

Stem cells from umbilical cords do not pose an ethical dilemma because the cells come from a source that would otherwise be discarded. Another major benefit is that umbilical cells generally have not been found to cause immune reactions, which would simplify their potential use in medical treatments.

The pharmaceutical company Geron, based in Menlo Park, Calif., developed a treatment for spinal cord repair based on embryonic stem cells, but it took the company 18 months to get approval from the FDA for human trials due in large part to the ethical and public concerns tied to human embryonic stem cell research. This and other problems recently led to the company shutting down its embryonic stem cell division, highlighting the need for other alternatives.

Sensitive Cells

The main challenge in working with stem cells is figuring out the chemical or other triggers that will convince them to convert into a desired cell type. When the new paper's lead author, Hedvika Davis, a postdoctoral researcher in Hickman's lab, set out to transform umbilical stem cells into oligodendrocytes--critical structural cells that insulate nerves in the brain and spinal cord--she looked for clues from past research.

Davis learned that other research groups had found components on oligodendrocytes that bind with the hormone norephinephrine, suggesting the cells normally interact with this chemical and that it might be one of the factors that stimulates their production. So, she decided this would be a good starting point.

In early tests, she found that norepinephrine, along with other stem cell growth promoters, caused the umbilical stem cells to convert, or differentiate, into oligodendrocytes. However, that conversion only went so far. The cells grew but then stopped short of reaching a level similar to what's found in the human nervous system.

Davis decided that, in addition to chemistry, the physical environment might be critical.

To more closely approximate the physical restrictions cells face in the body, Davis set up a more confined, three-dimensional environment, growing cells on top of a microscope slide, but with a glass slide above them. Only after making this change, and while still providing the norephinphrine and other chemicals, would the cells fully mature into oligodendrocytes.

"We realized that the stem cells are very sensitive to environmental conditions," Davis said.

Medical Potential

This growth of oligodendrocytes, while crucial, is only a first step to potential medical treatments. There are two main options the group hopes to pursue through further research. The first is that the cells could be injected into the body at the point of a spinal cord injury to promote repair.

Another intriguing possibility for the Hickman team's work relates to multiple sclerosis and similar conditions. "Multiple sclerosis is one of the holy grails for this kind of research," said Hickman, whose group is collaborating with Stephen Lambert at UCF's medical school, another of the paper's authors, to explore biomedical possibilities.

Oligodendrocytes produce myelin, which insulates nerve cells, making it possible for them to conduct the electrical signals that guide movement and other functions. Loss of myelin leads to multiple sclerosis and other related conditions such as diabetic neuropathy.

The injection of new, healthy oligodendrocytes might improve the condition of patients suffering from such diseases. The teams are also hoping to develop the techniques needed to grow oligodendrocytes in the lab to use as a model system both for better understanding the loss and restoration of myelin and for testing potential new treatments.

"We want to do both," Hickman said. "We want to use a model system to understand what's going on and also to look for possible therapies to repair some of the damage, and we think there is great potential in both directions."


'/>"/>
Contact: Barbara Abney
barb.abney@ucf.edu
407-823-5139
University of Central Florida
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Which comes first: Exercise-induced asthma or obesity?
2. Brooklyn Fitness Boot Camp Fights Recession, Improves Lives and Supports Community with "Service First: Fitness at Any Price" Business Model
3. Kessler Foundation reports greater brain activation after cognitive rehabilitation for MS
4. Arm in plaster changes brain in 16 days
5. Adolescents brains respond differently than adults when anticipating rewards
6. Brain Structure Adapts to Arm Injury, Study Says
7. Neural balls and strikes: Where categories live in the brain
8. CSHL team introduces automated imaging to greatly speed whole-brain mapping efforts
9. Heading Soccer Balls Could Injure Brain
10. How the brain routes traffic for maximum alertness
11. Selectively stopping glutathione sensitizes brain tumors to chemotherapy
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:12/8/2016)... ... ... Premier Fitness Camp (PFC) and The Chopra Center for Wellbeing announced today the ... their world headquarters of Omni La Costa Resort & Spa in San Diego. , ... loss, personal development, a healthy lifestyle, or mental and physical healing. The week-long wellness ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... ... 2016 , ... STAT courier is pleased to announce that due to customer ... are expanding their presence in Dallas. One of the most exciting parts for STAT ... to the Dallas and Forth Worth market. STAT takes pride in treating their employees ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... AR (PRWEB) , ... December 08, 2016 , ... ... insurance and financial planning services from offices headquartered in Little Rock, has initiated ... Pantry. , According to the National Foundation to End Senior Hunger, Arkansas ranks ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... MS (PRWEB) , ... December 08, 2016 , ... The ... serve commercial and residential clients in and around the Hancock County area, is announcing ... the Hancock County Food Pantry. , The Hancock County Food Pantry has worked for ...
(Date:12/7/2016)... ... December 07, 2016 , ... ... passage of the most comprehensive mental health systems reform legislation in more than ... the President, and the commitment of our elected officials to improving mental health ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:12/8/2016)... CITY , Dec. 8, 2016 ... US patents for improving the accuracy, reproducibility and ... images in long and small bone orthopaedic applications. ... approach to creating personalized orthopaedic restorations based on ... personalized orthopaedic restorations, the company harnesses the world,s ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... Dec. 8, 2016  A new study by a ... use of opioid therapy to treat chronic pain is ... of more harmful consequences, including death. Palliative ... Zankhana Mehta , M.D., authored the study which ... opioid therapy. The study was published in the December ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... 2016 Information products and services provider ... Scopus , the world,s largest abstract and citation database of ... for journals from over 5,000 publishers. The new set of metrics ... to and when to adjust a journal,s editorial strategy. ... , , ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: