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More MS news articles for February 2004

Human precursor cells myelinate Shiverer mice axons

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.

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