Home > BlogUnlocking Stem Cell Potential to Repair Brain Damage

Unlocking Stem Cell Potential to Repair Brain Damage

Posted by MullanMichael on August 01, 2014

Rachel Okolicsanyi from the Genomics Research Centre at QUT’s Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, is attempting to unlock potential for stem cells to repair neural damage in the brain. Brain cells are unable to divide and replicate like most other cells, and once they die, the damage seemed to be irreversible. Okolicsanyi is currently working on manipulating adult stem cells from bone marrow to produce populations of bells which can be used to treat brain damage. Her research has been published in the Developmental Biology journal, and outlines her work of taking stem cells from bone marrow and manipulating them into neural cells, or precursor cells with the potential to repair damage. She is focusing her research on whether the stem cells from the bone marrow can differentiate, or mature into neural cells.

Neural cells are from the brain and can make up the structure of the brain, and every connection for movements, voice, hearing, and sight to be possible. Okolicsanyi targeted her research for heparin sulfate proteoglycans, which are a family of proteins that are found on the surface of all cells in the body. She hopes that by manipulating this family of proteins, it would then be possible to encourage the stem cells to show a higher percentage of neural markers, which would indicate the cells maturing into neural cells. Ordinarily, the cells on their own would mature into bone, cartilage, and fats. The cells would be manipulated by modifying the surrounding environment. Chemicals like complex salts and commonly found biological substances would feed the cells, and either inhibit or encourage cell processes. The cells could react differently to various chemicals, and the research could determine if the chemicals could increase or decrease the neural markers within the cells. The proteins have a core protein that is attached to the cell surface and have heparin sulfate chains branching off from the core. The chemicals would influence the stem cell in different ways, and the interactions between the proteins and the changes in the cell could be better understood.

Sources

  1. Rachel K. Okolicsanyi, Lyn R. Griffiths, Larisa M. Haupt. Mesenchymal stem cells, neural lineage potential, heparan sulfate proteoglycans and the matrix.Developmental Biology, 2014; 388 (1): 1 DOI: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2014.01.024

2)  Queensland University of Technology. (2014, June 4). Unlocking the potential of stem cells to repair brain damage. ScienceDaily. Retrieved June 5, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140604094127.htm

 

By Lauren Horne

 

The Roskamp Institute is a 501(c)3 research facility dedicated to translating the efforts of its qualified research staff into real-world results for those suffering from neurological diseases. To learn more about our programs and to get information about donating, visit www.rfdn.org.

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