February 10th, 2004
Boston Cure Project
A Nature Medicine article posted on Medscape (free registration required) describes the successful use of human adult and fetal brain cell transplants in myelinating a congenitally demyelinated mouse model known as the Shiverer mouse. Shiverer mice are genetically unable to develop compact myelin sheaths, which makes them a good model for studying remyelination therapies.
In this study, adult and fetal oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs)
were isolated from human brain tissue and transplanted in Shiverer mice
at birth. Both types of cells successfully migrated throughout the mouse
brain, matured into functional oligodendrocytes, and myelinated surrounding
axons, forming compact myelin sheaths. However, there were some differences
between the two types of cells. Fetal OPCs migrated more extensively than
adult cells, but adult cells formed myelin sheaths more rapidly. Also,
some of the fetal cells developed into astrocytes whereas none of the adult
cells did. These findings indicate that the therapeutic abilities of stem
cells are partly determined by their source, which may lead to further
progress in new treatments not only for congenital leukodystrophies but
also demyelinating disorders like MS.
Copyright © 2004, Boston Cure Project