Brain Rejuvenation Using Stem Cells From Cord Blood

April 03 2008 / by AlFin
Category: Health & Medicine   Year: General   Rating: 8

Aging brains lose much of the ability to make new nerves and learn new information, since they lose most of the ability to maintain their stem cell supply, with aging. It may be possible to reverse that decline, and rejuvenate an aging brain’s flagging ability to repair itself and learn new things, by introducing cells from cord blood into the person’s peripheral veins.

US researchers in Florida have demonstrated, using aged mice, that a single injection of human umbilical cord blood mononuclear cells (HUCBMCs) can rejuvenate a mouse’s hippocampus and supply of neural stem cell progenitors. The aged mouse brains also began producing new nerves.

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Published in Biomedcentral, the Florida research opens the door to clinical trials in humans.

The present study did not attempt to determine if decreasing senescence of the neural stem cells could reverse the cognitive decline with age. There is still much debate surrounding the role of neurogenesis in learning and memory [44-49] and whether cellular senescence of the stem cell pool with age leads to an aging phenotype. While not a goal of the current study, it will be important to determine if the rejuvenation of the aged stem/progenitor cell pool can reverse the age-related cognitive decline.

If this study can be replicated with similar results in human beings, new regenerative therapies for degenerative brain diseases of aging will be within reach.

The most surprising and promising aspect of this research is that the cord blood cells were introduced into the peripheral veins, rather than into the brain directly. This relatively non-invasive therapy should be fairly safe and inexpensive, if it ultimately proves effective. That should eventually make such therapies widely available to most people of the world with access to medical facilities.

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