Blood stem cells become activated in response to signals released by nerve cells according to research published online in Nature Immunology.
Tsvee Lapidot and colleagues report bone marrow stem cells express dopamine receptors. Release of neurotransmitters, as occurs during times of stress, triggers the blood cells to divide and migrate from their protected bone marrow environment. Treatment of mice with dopamine or other neurotransmitters led to increased numbers of these stem cells in bone marrow and in the blood circulation. Neurotransmitter stimulation of human bone marrow cells likewise increased their engraftment potential upon transplantation into 'humanized mouse' recipients, whose immune system is reconstituted by the human cells. Such findings might translate to increased efficiency of therapies that require bone marrow transplantation.
Tsvee Lapidot (Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel)
Abstract available online.
(C) Nature Immunology press release.
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