Italian researchers have discovered new stem cells that could be potential sources of ‘spare’ neurons. A study carried out at the University of Verona has led to the discovery of Leptomeningeal Stem Cells (LeSC), a new population of stem cells located in the the meninges, which cover the entire central nervous system in mammals.
LeSCs are immature cells able to maintain themselves and differentiate into mature excitable neurons. This demonstrates that the brain has a greater regenerative capacity than what was believed until now. The results of the study, conducted on an animal model, were published recently in the Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine.
This is “a discovery that opens up a scenario of new possible therapies in the vast spectrum of degenerative neuropathologies,” explained researchers in a statement. “A hypothesis which, if its applicability is verified, could be used in the fight against traumas of the spinal cord, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, and multiple sclerosis,” they specified.
“This work,” continued the scientists, “represents an important discovery for the Verona research team, and represents a point of departure its international collaborations, whose developments will be demonstrated more clearly in the near future.”