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Researchers pinpoint key stem cells for eating and sex
Date:7/21/2010

WASHINGTON New research, published in the journal Development, by Dr. Anthony-Samuel LaMantia, professor of Pharmacology & Physiology and director of the newly formed GW Institute for Neuroscience, and his colleagues have identified the stem cells that generate three critical classes of nerve cells olfactory receptors (ORNs), vomeronasal (VRNs) and gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) neurons that are responsible for enabling animals and humans, to eat, interact socially and reproduce.

This research is the first evidence identfying these stem cells. By studying mice at the earliest stages of embryonic development, LaMantia and his colleagues were able to identify the location of these cells, confirm that they divide slowly and symmetricallythus making more stem cells, have a distinct molecular identity, and give rise to all cell types in the tissueincluding ORNs, VRNs and GnRH neurons. These embryonic olfactory stem cells also are ultimately responsible for generating stem cells that remain in the lining of the nose throughout life and make new ORNs and VRNs. Thus these stem cells are also essential to enable a rare example of nervous system regeneration that continues throughout life.

"By identifying these stems cells, our research will help physicians understand why people have certain genetic, neurological, and mental disabilities. Olfaction is often compromised early in the course of a number of serious diseases including autism, schizophrenia, and Alzheimer's disease, and GnRH deficiency is important in many cases of infertility. It is my hope that in the future, we will combine this sort of cell and molecular biology with clinical practice to develop better treatments for patients with these disorders," said Dr. LaMantia.

To identify the early olfactory stem cell, Dr. LaMantia and his colleagues used multiple methods to define the identity and potential of dividing cells in the embryonic tissue that eventually become
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Contact: Anne Banner
mcmacb@gwumc.edu
202-994-2261
George Washington University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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