Hilary White


Bone Marrow Stem Cells can Become Neurons New Research Finds

Hilary White

OSLO, March 22, 2005 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Bone marrow recently been found to be a richer source of stem cells and the cells derived from it to be more flexible than was previously thought. Now, further research by scientists in Norway has discovered that it is easier than previously thought to produce neural cells from bone marrow-derived stem cells.

The Oslo team used chick embryos to show that bone marrow stem cells do readily create neurons and spinal cord cells. The researchers introduced adult stem cells from human bone marrow into the injured spinal cord of the embryonic chick. The cells changed into new spinal cord cells using the existing chemical system of the chick’s developing spinal cord.

Senior researcher Joel C. Glover, of the Institute of Basic Medical Science at the University of Oslo, in Norway said, “We found that bone marrow stem cells did make neurons in the environment of the regenerating embryonic [chick] spinal cord.”

“We were able to show for the first time that these neurons were really functional,” Glover said. “They had the right shape, they could generate nerve impulses, and they received contacts from other neurons,” he added.

The key to the new method will be to isolate the cellular compounds in the developing embryo’s spinal cord that make cells turn into spinal cord cells and neurons. If these compounds can be created in the lab, they may be able to be used as an environment for turning bone marrow stem cells into neurons in a human.

“This study really shows that the microenvironment a stem cell is placed in is really very critical for defining how that stem cell will work,” said Paul Sanberg, a professor of neurosurgery and director of the University of South Florida’s Center for Aging and Brain Repair.

The Oslo team’s findings will be published in this week’s edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

See related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:
  Toronto Group Discovers Stem Cells Can Be Grown From Human Skin
  New Type of Adult Stem Cell Shows Exciting Similarity to Embryonic Stem Cell Flexibility

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