Neural stem cells taken from adult mouse brain can develop into functional neurons, reports a new study in the May issue of Nature Neuroscience. The stem cell–derived neurons showed many of the characteristics of brain cells that arise during normal development, including the ability to make connections with other neurons and to transmit electrical and chemical signals.
In the new study, Charles Stevens, Fred Gage and colleagues at the Salk Institute obtained stem cells from the brains of adult mice. When the cells were grown in petri dishes in the presence of other neurons and/or supporting glial cells, the stem cells developed properties of neurons: they looked like neurons, were electrically active, and made functional connections with neighboring neurons. The present work follows closely on the heels of another study from this group, recently reported in Nature, which showed that new neurons that naturally arise in some regions of the adult mouse brain can become incorporated into functional neural circuits. Together, the two studies provide some of the most convincing support yet for the idea that functional neurons can be generated in the adult brain.
Dr. Charles F. Stevens
Salk Institute for Biological Studies
La Jolla, CA, USA
Tel: +1 858 453 4100, x1155
Additional contact for comment on paper:
Dr. Thomas Reh
Dept of Biological Structure
University of Washington School of Medicine
Seattle, WA, USA
Tel: +1 206 543 8043
Also available online.
(C) Nature Neuroscience press release.
Message posted by: Trevor M. D'Souza