The Human Brain Hides New Type Of Stem Cells
According to a study published in the journal PLoS ONE, researchers from Lund University in Sweden, report to have identified new stem cells in the brain. The discovery may provide new therapeutic targets for treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.Stem cells are undifferentiated cells making them able to develop into different cell types in the body. There are two types of stem cells, embryonic stem cells and adult stem cells. Embryonic stem cells come from embryos of 5 days (which is called a blastocyst at this stage) and are called pluripotent stem cells because they have the ability to develop other stem cells and further into specific cells of the body. It seems that they have a great regenerative potential.
Adult stem cells found in the umbilical cord of newborns or in adults in various organs such as bone marrow, brain are called somatic stem cells. Initially it was thought that somatic stem cells can develop only into specicific types. In other words, if the cells came from bone marrow, it was thought that they can develop only into hematopoietic cells. But recently it has discovered that they can develop into another line. Furthermore, researchers were able to turn adult stem cells into embryonic cells by a method that is called reprogramming.
Researchers from Lund University made the discovery while examining nervous tissue samples from biopsies. They found these stem cells near blood vessels in the brain. Although not they have not determined precisely their function, it appears that these cells have amazing plastic properties. Therapeutic potential is enormous, and the researchers hope to take advantage of this discovery. Gesine Paul, Visse, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Neuroscience at Lund University and the study’s primary author, said: “Our findings that shows the cell capacity is much larger than we originally thought, and that is very versatile tissue cells. ” The fact that these cells can form new neurons may be key to treating diseases so far incurable, such as spinal muscular atrophy. Although it was long thought that neurons can not regenerate, it appears to be a process of neurogenesis. However, most neurons that form the neocortex are formed before birth and they persist without replacement.
The discovery made by researchers at Lund University in Sweden joins other discoveries that laid the foundation for regenerative medicine. Regenerative medicine refers to replacing diseased or dysfunctional cells with new ones from stem cells. Stem cells have been used since 1960 when they performed the first bone marrow transplant. Now stem cells are under study for several diseases such as recovery of damaged myocardium after myocardial infarction or recovery after spinal cord injury.