Endometrial stem cells could repair brain cells damaged by Parkinson's disease

May 6, 2010, Yale University
These are neurons developed from human endometrial stem cells. Credit: Hugh S. Taylor, M.D., Yale University School of Medicine

Stem cells derived from the endometrium (uterine lining) and transplanted into the brains of laboratory mice with Parkinson's disease appear to restore functioning of brain cells damaged by the disease, according to a new study by Yale School of Medicine researchers.

The findings are published in the Journal of Cellular and . Although these are preliminary results, the findings increase the likelihood that endometrial tissue could be harvested from women with Parkinson's disease and used to re-grow brain areas that have been damaged by the disease, according to lead author Hugh S. Taylor, M.D., professor in the Department of Obstetrics, & Reproductive Sciences at Yale School of Medicine, and section chief of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at Yale School of Medicine.

Because of their ability to divide into new cell types, stem cells could be the key to treating many different kinds of diseases, like Parkinson's, in which the body's own cells are damaged or depleted. Parkinson's is caused by a breakdown of dopamine-producing nerve cells in the brain stem. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that stimulates the motor neurons that in turn control muscles. When dopamine production is reduced, the nerves are not able to control movement or maintain coordination.

In their study, Taylor and his colleagues collected and cultured endometrial tissue from nine women, and verified that they could be transformed into dopamine-producing nerve cells like those in the .

"The dopamine levels in the mice increased once we transferred the endometrial stem cells into their brains," said Taylor. "This is encouraging because women have a ready supply of stem cells that are easily obtained, can differentiate into other cell types. They may have great potential for treating multiple diseases."

Highlighting the benefits of using endometrial stem cells, Taylor said the ethical concerns surrounding the use of embryonic stem cells are eliminated when using adult stem cells. Taylor also points out that endometrial stem cells are one of the best sources for generating neurons because they appear to be less likely to be rejected than from other sources.

"This is just the tip of the iceberg of what we will be able to do with these cells," said Taylor. "We believe these neurons are only the first of many cell types derived from that will be used to treat a variety of diseases."

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Study looks at how newly discovered gene helps grow blood vessels

February 19, 2018
A new study published today found that a newly discovered gene helps grow blood vessels when it senses inadequate blood flow to tissues.

Scientists produce human intestinal lining that re-creates living tissue inside organ-chip

February 16, 2018
Investigators have demonstrated how cells of a human intestinal lining created outside an individual's body mirror living tissue when placed inside microengineered Intestine-Chips, opening the door to personalized testing ...

Data wave hits health care

February 16, 2018
Technology used by Facebook, Google and Amazon to turn spoken language into text, recognize faces and target advertising could help doctors fight one of the deadliest infections in American hospitals.

Researcher explains how statistics, neuroscience improve anesthesiology

February 16, 2018
It's intuitive that anesthesia operates in the brain, but the standard protocol among anesthesiologists when monitoring and dosing patients during surgery is to rely on indirect signs of arousal like movement, and changes ...

Team reports progress in pursuit of sickle cell cure

February 16, 2018
Scientists have successfully used gene editing to repair 20 to 40 percent of stem and progenitor cells taken from the peripheral blood of patients with sickle cell disease, according to Rice University bioengineer Gang Bao.

Appetite-controlling molecule could prevent 'rebound' weight gain after dieting

February 15, 2018
Scientists have revealed how mice control their appetite when under stress such as cold temperatures and starvation, according to a new study by Monash University and St Vincent's Institute in Melbourne. The results shed ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.