June 14, 2011

Sniffing Out New Sources Of Stem Cells

(Ivanhoe Newswire) "“ A study on mice suggests that adult stem cells from immune system tissue in the smell-sensing region of the human nose could provide a source of cells to treat brain disorders in which nerve cells are lost or irreparably damaged.

Stem cells are always promising candidates for sources of cells for the regeneration and repair of tissues damaged by various brain disorders. Two types of stem cells, embryonic stem (ES) cells and induced pluripotents stem (iPS) cells, have the ability to generate any type of cell. Ethical and technical issues have so far limited the clinical development of therapeutic approaches using ES and iPS cells, meaning that researchers are seeking alternate stem cells sources.

A team of researchers led by Emmaluel Nivet, at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla, found that when human olfactory ectomesenchymal stem cells (OE-MSCs) were transplanted into mice with damage to the hippocampal region of the brain (a region important for memory and learning) they migrated toward the site of damage, where they developed into nerve cells and also stimulated endogenous nerve cell generation.

The treated mice showed improvements in learning and memory. This suggests that OE-MSCs might be of tremendous utility in the clinic.

SOURCE: Journal of Clinical Investigation, published online June 13, 2011