Tag Archives: Central nervous system

North Carolina University Researchers Advance Understanding of Stem Cells

Researchers from North Carolina State University have identified a gene that tells embryonic stem cells in the brain when to stop producing nerve cells called neurons. The research is a significant advance in understanding the development of the nervous system, which is essential to addressing conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and other neurological disorders.

The bulk of neuron production in the central nervous system takes place before birth, and comes to a halt by birth. But scientists have identified specific regions in the core of the brain that retain stem cells into adulthood and continue to produce new
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Stem Cells Regenerate Severe Spinal Cord Injury

In a study at the University of California, San Diego and VA San Diego Healthcare, researchers were able to regenerate “an astonishing degree” of axonal growth at the site of severe spinal cord injury in rats. Their research revealed that early stage neurons have the ability to survive and extend axons to form new, functional neuronal relays across an injury site in the adult central nervous system (CNS).

The study also proved that at least some types of adult CNS axons can overcome a normally inhibitory growth environment to grow over long distances. Importantly, stem cells across species
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New neurons in an old brain

The central nervous system (CNS) contains a diverse set of neuronal subtypes, which together form the complex circuitry that regulates virtually every life function. To maintain normal body function, several systems in mammals require the simultaneous operation of a variety of neuronal subtypes, each sending different endocrine and paracrine messages to the brain. One such system is that of leptin signaling in the hypothalamus.

Leptin signaling regulates energy balance, glucose levels, food intake, and body weight. In recent work, Jeffrey Macklis, MD, Leader of HSCI’s Nervous System Diseases Program, introduced functional neurons into the hypothalami of mice with faulty leptin
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StemCells can avoid rejection from the immune system

Last year, Japanese researchers announced that the first human patient would be treated with induced pluripotent stem cells in an attempt to reverse a degenerative eye condition called macular degeneration that leads to vision loss.

Now, a team of scientists headed by biologists at UC San Diego has discovered how induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, which are derived from an individual’s own cells, could be programmed to avoid rejection from the immune system.

Their findings, published online ahead of print in the journal Cell Stem Cell, show that iPS cells can differentiate or change into various types of functional cells with
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UTHealth research shows modified adult stem cells may be helpful in spinal cord injury

Researchers at UTHealth have demonstrated in rats that transplanting genetically modified adult stem cells into an injured spinal cord can help restore the electrical pathways associated with movement. The results are published in today’s issue of the Journal of Neuroscience.

In spinal cord injury, demyelination, or the destruction of the myelin sheath in the central nervous system, occurs. The myelin sheath, produced by cells called oligodendrocytes, wraps around the axons of nerves and helps speed activity and insulate electrical conduction. Without it, the nerves cannot send messages to make muscles move.

The research team, led by Qilin Cao, M.D., principal investigator
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