Stem cells in the adult spinal cord
Researchers at the French National Institute for Health and Medical Research (INSERM) had just demonstrated the presence of stem cells in the adult spinal cord. A "first" that the authors, "could eventually lead to therapeutic use to repair the spinal cord.

The latter, situated in the extension of the brain inside the spine is absolutely essential. It provides in fact both the operation of motor neurons needed to achieve the movements that the transmission of sensory signals or control of the viscera. But now, the injuries that affect the "wiring" of neurons are considered irreversible ...

The significance of this discovery is that it will perhaps from these stem cells to produce cells that will restore the control and operation of neurons! This substantial work is a collaboration between three teams in Montpellier: Jean-Philippe those Hugnot University, Alain Privat at INSERM (Unit 583) and Luke Bauchet (neurosurgeon at UHC).

The road is still long, but this step could in the coming years will turn into hope for many patients. Including victims of spinal cord injury, or patients suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

Source: INSERM - Journal of Neuroscience Research, April 9, 2008

Images: Coronal sections of injured adult spinal cord, anterior to posterior. The labelling shows recombined ependymal cells and their progeny (white) migrating out to the injury area in the dorsal funiculus, as a reponse to the injury (injury is in the image on the right hand corner). The mouse is a FoxJ1-CreER x R26R-LacZ reporter. Image / Konstantinos Meletis


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