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New Stem Cell Found in the Brain

Posted May 19 2012 10:10pm
Posted on 2012-05-16 06:00:00 in Brain and Mental Performance | Stem Cell |

Researchers at Lund University (Sweden) have discovered a new stem cell in the adult brain. These cells can proliferate and form several different cell types - most importantly, they can form new brain cells. Analyzing brain tissue from biopsies, Gesine Paul and colleagues for the first time found stem cells located around small blood vessels in the brain. The cell's specific function is still unclear, but its plastic properties suggest great potential. A similar cell type has been identified in several other organs where it can promote regeneration of muscle, bone, cartilage and adipose tissue.  "Our findings show that the cell capacity is much larger than we originally thought, and that these cells are very versatile," comments the lead researcher, who continues that: “Most interesting is their ability to form neuronal cells, but they can also be developed for other cell types. The results contribute to better understanding of how brain cell plasticity works and opens up new opportunities to exploit these very features." Writing that: “we provide evidence that the vascular niche in the adult human brain harbors a novel progenitor with multilineage capacity that appears to represent mesenchymal stem cells and is different from any previously described human neural stem cell,” the team is hopeful that their discovery may lead the way to therapies to repair neurodegenerative diseases and injuries to the brain.

Gesine Paul, Ilknur Ozen, Nicolaj S. Christophersen, Thomas Reinbothe, Johan Bengzon, Edward Visse, et al. “The Adult Human Brain Harbors Multipotent Perivascular Mesenchymal Stem Cells.”  PLoS ONE, 16 Apr 2012.

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