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Attractants prevent nerve cell migration
Date:11/21/2013

A vision is to implant nerve precursor cells in the diseased brains of patients with Parkinson's and Huntington's diseases, whereby these cells are to assume the function of the cells that have died off. However, the implanted nerve cells frequently do not migrate as hoped, rather they hardly move from the site. Scientists at the Institute for Reconstructive Neurobiology at Bonn University have now discovered an important cause of this: Attractants secreted by the precursor cells prevent the maturing nerve cells from migrating into the brain. The results are presented in the journal "Nature Neuroscience."

One approach for treating patients with Parkinson's or Huntington's disease is to replace defective brain cells with fresh cells. To do this, immature precursor cells from neurons are implanted into the diseased brains; these cells are to then mature on-site and take over the function of the defective cells. "However, it has been shown again and again that the nerve cells generated by the transplant barely migrate into the brain but remain largely confined to the implant site," says Prof. Dr. Oliver Brstle, Director of the Institute for Reconstructive Neurobiology at Bonn University. Scientists have believed for a long time that this effect is associated with the fact that in the mature brain, there are unfavorable conditions for the uptake of additional nerve cells.

Immature and more mature nerve cells attract each other like magnets

The researchers from the Institute for Reconstructive Neurobiology of Bonn University have now discovered a fully unexpected mechanism to which the deficient migratory behavior of the graft-derived neurons can be attributed. The implanted cells mature at different rates and thus there is a mixture of the two stages. "Like magnets, the precursor cells which are still largely immature attract the nerve cells which have already matured further, which is why there is a sort of agglomeration,"
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Contact: Dr. Oliver Brüstle
r.neuro@uni-bonn.de
49-228-688-5500
University of Bonn
Source:Eurekalert

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