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New form of stem cell communication rescues diseased neurons
Date:2/1/2010

which stem cells communicate with the cells around them, not only under diseased conditions but during normal development."

"Grafted neural stem cells of mouse and human origin make early gap junction contact with cells in the host brain that benefit endangered host neurons, even rescuing them from impending cell death," added Richard L. Sidman, M.D., Professor of Neuropathology (Neuroscience) at BIDMC, Boston and Harvard Medical School.

Beginning with tissue culture studies, the team found that neural stem cells (NSCs, including human NSCs) integrated into the neural circuitry, coordinated signaling (as measured by calcium fluxes) and protected injured neurons. The team replicated these findings in diseased mice (including those that have a disorder similar to Huntington's disease) and spinal-injured rats. The scientists, led by Eric Herlenius, Ph.D., of the Karolinska Institutet and Dr. Snyder, hypothesized that communication through gap junctions was the mechanism for the protective effect. Subsequently, the researchers disabled gap junctions, which diminished the therapeutic effect and validated the gap junction hypothesis.


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Contact: Josh Baxt
jbaxt@burnham.org
858-795-5236
Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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