Important step towards stem cell-based treatment for stroke

October 25, 2013

Brain infarction or stroke is caused by a blood clot blocking a blood vessel in the brain, which leads to interruption of blood flow and shortage of oxygen. Now a reserach group at Lund University, Sweden, has taken an important step towards a treatment for stroke using stem cells.

The research group shows in a new study, published in the scientific journal Brain, that so-called induced pluripotent have developed to mature nerve cells at two months after transplantation into the stroke-injured cerebral cortex of rats. These nerve cells have established contact with other important structures in the . The transplantation gave rise to improvement of the animals' mobility. The results are from studies in animals but the scientists are hopeful.

"The results are promising and represent a very early but important step towards a stem cell-based treatment for stroke in patients. However, it is important to underscore that further experimental studies are necessary to translate these findings into the clinic in a responsible way," says Olle Lindvall, senior consultant and professor of neurology and one of the scientists responsible for the study.

In Sweden, about 30 000 people are affected with stroke every year and many of these patients will exhibit long-lasting handicap and will never fully recover. Following a stroke, nerve cells in the brain die and if these cells could be replaced by new healthy cells, this approach might be developed into a treatment. At Lund Stem Cell Center, Zaal Kokaia's and Olle Lindvall's research group is working with the aim to develop a stem cell-based method to treat patients with stroke.

The cerebral cortex is often damaged following a , which underlies many of the symptoms such as paresis and speech problems. With the method used by the Lund scientists it should be possible to generate nerve cells for transplantation from the patient's own .

The research group has first reprogrammed skin cells from an adult human to induced pluripotent stem cells and then induced these cells to become mature nerve cells characteristic for the cerebral cortex.

"By using the method of induced we have been able to generate cells which express those markers which are typical for nerve cells in the cerebral cortex and we have also shown that the new nerve cells are functional," says Zaal Kokaia, professor of experimental medical research.

One problem which has to be solved is to find a way to produce the cerebral cortex cells in large numbers, which is necessary for application in patients.

"We must also determine which effects the transplanted nerve cells have on other brain functions. We need to know more about how well the new are integrated into the and communicate with other nerve . The magnitude of functional restoration also has to be improved," says Zaal Kokaia.

Explore further: Stem cells aid recovery from stroke

More information: Human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cortical neurons integrate in stroke-injured cortex and improve functional recovery. Författare: Daniel Tornero, Somsak Wattananit, Marita Grønning Madsen, Philipp Koch, James Wood, Jemal Tatarishvili, Yutaka Mine, Ruimin Ge, Emanuela Monni, Karthikeyan Devaraju, Robert F. Hevner, Oliver Brüstle, Olle Lindvall and Zaal Kokaia, Brain, October 21, 2013. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24148272%20%20

Related Stories

Stem cells aid recovery from stroke

January 27, 2013
Stem cells from bone marrow or fat improve recovery after stroke in rats, finds a study published in BioMed Central's open access journal Stem Cell Research & Therapy. Treatment with stem cells improved the amount of brain ...

Researchers form new nerve cells—directly in the brain

March 26, 2013
The field of cell therapy, which aims to form new cells in the body in order to cure disease, has taken another important step in the development towards new treatments. A new report from researchers at Lund University in ...

Stimulating brain cells with light

October 26, 2012
For the time being, this is basic research but the long term objective is to find new ways of treating Parkinson's disease. This increasingly common disease is caused by degeneration of the brain cells producing signal substance ...

New, 'robust' treatment for stroke uses genetic material from bone marrow

August 26, 2013
In the latest in a series of experiments testing the use of stem cells to treat neurological disease, researchers at Henry Ford Hospital have shown for the first time that microscopic material in the cells offers a "robust" ...

Scientists identify key regulator controlling formation of blood-forming stem cells

September 26, 2013
Stem cell scientists have moved one step closer to producing blood-forming stem cells in a Petri dish by identifying a key regulator controlling their formation in the early embryo, shows research published online today in ...

Recommended for you

Researchers create tool to measure, control protein aggregation

October 22, 2017
A common thread ties seemingly unlinked disorders like Alzheimer's disease and type II diabetes together. This thread is known as protein aggregation and happens when proteins clump together. These complexes are a hallmark ...

'Selfish brain' wins out when competing with muscle power, study finds

October 20, 2017
Human brains are expensive - metabolically speaking. It takes lot of energy to run our sophisticated grey matter, and that comes at an evolutionary cost.

Want to control your dreams? Here's how

October 19, 2017
New research at the University of Adelaide has found that a specific combination of techniques will increase people's chances of having lucid dreams, in which the dreamer is aware they're dreaming while it's still happening ...

Researchers find shifting relationship between flexibility, modularity in the brain

October 19, 2017
A new study by Rice University researchers takes a step toward what they see as key to the advance of neuroscience: a better understanding of the relationship between the brain's flexibility and its modularity.

Brain training can improve our understanding of speech in noisy places

October 19, 2017
For many people with hearing challenges, trying to follow a conversation in a crowded restaurant or other noisy venue is a major struggle, even with hearing aids. Now researchers reporting in Current Biology on October 19th ...

Investigating the most common genetic contributor to Parkinson's disease

October 19, 2017
LRRK2 gene mutations are the most common genetic cause of Parkinson's disease (PD), but the normal physiological role of this gene in the brain remains unclear. In a paper published in Neuron, Brigham and Women's Hospital ...

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.