Navigation Links
Nerve-cell transplants help brain-damaged rats fully recover lost ability to learn
Date:12/9/2009

WASHINGTON Nerve cells transplanted into brain-damaged rats helped them to fully recover their ability to learn and remember, probably by promoting nurturing, protective growth factors, according to a new study.

Building on previous investigation of transplants in the nervous system, this critical study confirms that cell transplants can help the brain to heal itself. Ultimately, it may lead to new therapies to help dementia patients. More generally, scientists can now develop and test new ways to help repair an injured nervous system -- whether through new drugs, genetically modified cells, transplanted neural (nerve) and non-neural brain cells, or other means.

The discovery was announced in the December issue of Behavioral Neuroscience, published by the American Psychological Association. The findings, according to the authors, confirm the potential of cell grafts to stimulate the release of growth factors for neurons, regenerate or reorganize a part of the brain, and restore cognitive function, in a process called neural plasticity.

This study focused on the hippocampus, considered to be the seat of learning and memory, whose shrinkage in Alzheimer's disease causes steadily worsening symptoms. The study's authors targeted a key player in the hippocampal "learning system," which includes the hippocampus itself, the subiculum (the major output structure connected to the cortex, the self-aware "thinking" part of the brain), and the adjacent entorhinal cortex.

Previously, these scientists had demonstrated that damage to the subiculum in rats led to deterioration of the hippocampus, and problems with learning. The next question was obvious: Could researchers do the opposite, repair the hippocampus and restore the memory functions?

They sought the answer at India's National Institute for Mental Health and Neuro Sciences and National Centre for Biological Sciences (Tata Institute for Fundamental Research), both in Bangalore. First, the scientists injected a neuron-destroying chemical into the subiculum area of 48 adult rats.

Next, again using precise micro-injections, the scientists transplanted hippocampal cells that had been taken from newborn transgenic mice and cultured in an incubator into the hippocampi of about half the rats. These special cells had a green fluorescent protein used to "label" and track them after transplantation. (Transgenic mice are bred with a little extra DNA that allows their cells to be grown in glass plates in incubators.)

Two months later, the scientists measured how well both the transplant and non-transplant rats learned and remembered, using two well-established maze tests of spatial learning. The rats given cell transplants had recovered completely: On both mazes, they performed as well as those rats which had not had their subiculums damaged. The rats without transplants did not recover: They had many problems learning their way through the mazes.

After studying behavior, the scientists examined what happened in the brain. Under the microscope, it appeared that the transplanted cells had settled mainly in a sub-area of the hippocampus called the dentate gyrus. There, the transplants appeared to promote the secretion of two types of growth factors, namely brain-derived neurotrophic factor and fibroblast growth factor, which boost the growth and survival of the cells that give rise to neurons. In the hippocampi of rats with cell transplants, the expression of brain-derived growth factor went up threefold.

It is significant that transplants can provide more neural growth factors in the hippocampus, because the formation of new neurons there may be critical for cognitive function.

Neural growth factors, also called neurotrophic factors, hold great promise for treating neurological problems. These specialized chemicals "provide an ideal micro-environment for making new neurons," said co-author Bindu Kutty, PhD. "They also protect existing brain cells, especially following an injury or other neurological insult."

Further study is needed, especially to understand the underlying repair mechanism and the apparent starring role of growth factor in brain health. Although the current study shows in the lab that brain-cell transplants can restore function, "more studies along these lines using appropriate animal models are required to find definitive answers about the safety and efficacy of such approaches," said Kutty. "We are still some way from achieving a new therapy based on these findings."


'/>"/>

Contact: Public Affairs Office
public.affairs@apa.org
202-336-5700
American Psychological Association
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Penn researchers engineer first system of human nerve-cell tissue
2. RNA-associated introns guide nerve-cell channel production
3. Alzheimers molecule is a smart speed bump on the nerve-cell transport highway
4. State Approves Plans For Kidney Transplants At Advocate Christ Medical Center
5. Physician bias might keep life-saving transplants from black and Hispanic patients
6. Stem Cells May Offer Alternative to Lung Transplants
7. Kidney transplants generally safe for lupus patients
8. National Health Care Reformers Should Pay Attention to Lawsuit Alleging that Nations Largest Insurer Routinely Denies Liver Transplants
9. FDA Approves Valcyte(R) (valganciclovir hydrochloride) to Prevent Cytomegalovirus (CMV) Disease in Pediatric Patients Who Receive Heart or Kidney Transplants
10. LA Eye Surgeon Performs 8 Corneal Transplants in Syria
11. Total Artificial Heart Patient 3rd in the World to Receive Dual Transplants
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/26/2016)... , ... June 26, 2016 , ... ... once they have been diagnosed with endometriosis. These women need a treatment plan ... require a comprehensive approach that can help for preservation of fertility and ultimately ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... 2016 , ... First Choice Emergency Room , the largest network of ... Medical Director of its new Mesquite-Samuell Farm facility. , “We are pleased to ... said Dr. James M. Muzzarelli, Executive Medical Director of First Choice Emergency Room. ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... ... plastic surgery procedures that most people are unfamiliar with. The article goes on to ... known procedures, but also many of these less common operations such as calf and ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... MIAMI, Fla. (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... ... Florida Trend magazine’s 2016 Legal Elite. The attorneys chosen by their peers for this ... of Florida. , Seven Greenberg Traurig Shareholders received special honors as members of this ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... ... the Clinical Decision Making in Emergency Medicine conference in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL. ... articles published in Emergency Medicine Practice and Pediatric Emergency Medicine Practice. ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 Research and ... Global Market - Forecast to 2022" report to their ... treatment method for the patients with kidney failure, it replaces ... fluid from the patient,s blood and thus the treatment helps ... and chloride in balance. Increasing number of ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 Roche (SIX: ... 510(k) clearance for its Elecsys BRAHMS PCT (procalcitonin) assay ... sepsis or septic shock. With this clearance, Roche is ... a fully integrated solution for sepsis risk assessment and ... with bacterial infection and PCT levels in blood can ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... -- Bracket , a leading clinical trial technology and ... platform, Bracket eCOA (SM) 6.0, at the 52 nd ... 2016 in Philadelphia , Pennsylvania.  A demonstration ... of its kind to fully integrate with RTSM, will be ... is a flexible platform for electronic clinical outcomes assessments that ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: