Navigation Links
Nervous system stem cells can replace themselves, give rise to variety of cell types, even amplify

A Johns Hopkins team has discovered in young adult mice that a lone brain stem cell is capable not only of replacing itself and giving rise to specialized neurons and glia important types of brain cells but also of taking a wholly unexpected path: generating two new brain stem cells.

A report on their study appears June 24 in Cell.

Although it was known that the brain has the capacity to generate both neurons, which send and receive signals, and the glial cells that surround them, it was unclear whether these various cell types came from a single source. In addition to demonstrating that a single radial glia-like (RGL) brain cell is able to generate two very different functional cell types, the Hopkins researchers, by following the fates of single cells over time, found that a single brain stem cell can even produce two stem cells like itself.

"Now we know they don't just maintain their numbers, or go down in number, but that stem cells can amplify," says Hongjun Song, Ph.D., professor of neurology and neuroscience and director of the Stem Cell Program in the Institute for Cell Engineering, the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. "If we can somehow cash in on this newly discovered property of stem cells in the brain, and find ways to intervene so they divide more, then we might actually increase their numbers instead of losing them over time, which is what normally happens, perhaps due to aging or diseases."

The researchers' findings hinged on a decision to single out and follow lone, radial glia-like cells, instead of labeling and monitoring entire stem cell populations in the mouse brain. They took this approach because they suspected radial glia-like cells were essentially stem cells, having been shown in previous studies to give rise to neurons.

Using mice genetically modified with special genes that color-code cells for easy labeling and tracking, the Hopkins team injected a very small amount of a chemical into about 50 mouse brains to induce extremely limited cell labeling.

"It's a simple idea that forced us to confront a lot of complex technical issues," Song says. "With so many millions of cells in the relatively large mouse brain, labeling a single stem cell and then chasing its family history was like finding a needle in a haystack."

The scientists developed computer programs and devised a new imaging technique that allowed them to examine stained slices of the mouse brain and, ultimately, follow single, randomly chosen radial glia-like stem cells over time. The method allowed them to track down all the new cells derived from a single original stem cell.

"We reconstituted single stem cells' family trees to look at the progeny they gave rise to," says Guo-li Ming, associate professor of neurology and neuroscience and a member of the Neuroregeneration Program in the Institute for Cell Engineering. "We discovered that single cells in an intact animal nervous system absolutely do exhibit stem-cell properties; they are capable of both replicating themselves and producing different types of differentiated neural progeny."

The team followed the fates of all the marked radial glia-like stem cells for at least a month or two, and examined some a full year later to discover that even over the long term, the "mother" cell was still generating itself as well as different kinds of progeny.

In addition, the researchers investigated how these RGLs were activated on a molecular level, focusing, in particular, on the regulatory role of an autism-associated gene called PTEN. Conventional wisdom was that deleting this gene led to an increase in stem-cell activation. However, the scientists demonstrated that was a transient effect in the mouse brains, and that, ultimately, PTEN deletion leads to stem-cell depletion.


Contact: Maryalice Yakutchik
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions

Related medicine news :

1. ATS issues statement on disorder of respiratory and autonomic nervous system regulation
2. Immune system helps transplanted stem cells navigate in central nervous system
3. Experimental Drug Aids Kids With Nervous System Tumor
4. Researchers get a grip on nervous systems receptors
5. Nervous System Imbalance May Cause Fatigue in Breast Cancer Survivors
6. Connection discovered between the nervous system and the vascular system
7. Carolinas HealthCare System Volunteers to Join Navy Rescue Mission in Haiti
8. University of Virginia Health System Medical Laboratories Selects Sunquest's Specimen Collection Solution
9. Silverchair Learning Systems Enhances Product Expertise with New Hires
10. Centene Corporation Hosts Medical Management Systems Update in New York City
11. U.S. National Guard Connects Nationwide with Desktop Alert's Command and Control Mass Notification Systems and Common Alerting Protocol (CAP)
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Nervous system stem cells can replace themselves, give rise to variety of cell types, even amplify
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... World Patent Marketing ... Swappables, a household invention that provides an economical and easy way of gaining ... is growing at 2.6%," says Scott Cooper, CEO and Creative Director of World ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... 30, 2015 , ... CTI Group (Holdings) Inc. (OTC:CTIG), a ... communication analytics, announced today that their Proteus® VoIP QMS solution now supports Skype ... Proteus® VoIP QMS (Quality Management System) does this by collecting the ...
(Date:11/29/2015)... Orion, Clarkston, Metamora, Michigan (PRWEB) , ... ... ... Women's Excellence is once again accredited by the American Institute of Ultrasound ... process that allows practices to demonstrate that they meet or exceed nationally ...
(Date:11/29/2015)... ... ... The Cyber Monday deal is a deep 40% or more discount on every item on ... the skin care lover in your circle. Each Christmas, Sublime Beauty offers a special ... serums are staples: Collagen, Retinol and Hyaluronic Serums. , Stocking stuffers like Skin Brushes, natural ...
(Date:11/29/2015)... ... November 29, 2015 , ... Khanna Vision Institute based in Los Angeles, announced ... November 25th 2015. Peer Certification by the Board is done so the public knows ... is first obtained after the completion of three years of training or Residency in ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/30/2015)... HANOVER, N.J. , Nov. 30, 2015  Novartis ... portfolio at the 57 th American Society of ... leukemias, lymphomas and myelomas as well as supportive care, ... in addition to personalized cell therapies. The ASH Annual ... Orlando, Florida . Novartis Oncology . ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... , Belgium , Nov. 30, 2015 ... sciences company focused on developing blood-based diagnostic tests for a ... the Company will present at the LD Micro Conference, which ... Los Angeles, CA. Attending from VolitionRx will be ... Scott Powell , Vice President of Investor Relations. ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... , Nov. 30, 2015  Precision Image ... services, is pleased to announce a dramatic expansion ... imaging services. Building on its ISO-9001:2008 certification for ... implemented comprehensive Core Lab protocols and procedures. This ... of research activities.  Their Core Lab services include ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: