Here, the investigators used mice that had been engineered to be allergic to ragweed and injected them with multipotent stem cells known as bone marrow stromal cells. Multipotent stem cells are cells that can develop into many different cell types.
Indeed, animals injected with the compound had fewer allergy and asthma symptoms when exposed to the allergen, ragweed.
"We gave the mice intravenous injections of stem cells and, after four days, we assessed different mediators of the inflammatory response and that's how we could pick up the beneficial effects of the stem cells," said study first author Dr. Krisztian Nemeth, a research fellow with the adult stem cell unit of NIDCR.
After that, he added, "we went into more accurate details and tried to explore what anti-inflammatory molecules were synthesized by our cells and how they mediated the anti-inflammatory response."
It turned out that the stem cells righted the balance of certain white blood cells that are out of sync in those with asthma.
The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has more on asthma.
SOURCES: Eva Mezey, M.D., Ph.D., head, adult stem cell unit, National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR); Krisztian Nemeth, M.D., Ph.D., research fellow, adult stem cell unit, NIDCR; March 15-19, 2010, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, online
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