Stem cells transplanted in mice heal their neurological problems

Stem cells heal neurological deficits in mice Image credits: Science Museum

Stem cells heal neurological deficits in mice
Image credits: Science Museum

A team of researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison has recently gone public with the news that they have succeeded in healing several neurological deficits in mice with the help of human embryonic stem cells.

More precisely, these researchers maintain that, following their transplanting said cells in the brains of mice and allowing them to turn into neurons, the animals experienced an improvement in both their memory and their learning abilities.

The neurological deficits healed by the stem cells in the case of these mice were all deliberately induced by the researchers during the first stage of their investigations.

The official website for the University of Wisconsin-Madison says that the embryonic cells transplanted into these mice were laboratory-grown.

Furthermore, it appears that the mice used in these experiments belonged to a strain whose anatomical make-up made it possible for them to accept transplants from other species.

The area of the brain chosen as the most suitable location where to implant these stem cells was the hippocampus, which is a memory center of utmost importance.

However, the initial damage done to these animals’ brain was in the medial septum.

Study senior author Su-Chun Zhang explains how, soon after the human stem cells were implanted inside the brains of these mice, they formed two different types of neurons.

As specialist Su-Chun Zhang details, “These two neuron types are involved in many kinds of human behavior, emotions, learning, memory, addiction and many other psychiatric issues.”

“The process is akin to removing a section of telephone cable. If you can find the correct route, you could wire the replacement from either end,” the researcher further argued.

Several experiments carried out after the mice had been implanted with the stem cells showed that the animals performed better at tests meant to assess their memory and learning abilities.

This research, whose findings were published in the scientific journal Nature Biotechnology, is the first to prove that human stem cells can help heal neurological deficits when implanted in the brain.

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