"Engrafted stem cells underwent extensive neuronal differentiation, formed new synaptic contacts, released neurotrophic factors, and showed an advanced degree of structural integration into the motor circuitry," reported the research team.
They found that the test animals showed improved hippocampal spatial memory and hippocampal-related "fear conditioning performance" when compared to a control group of irradiated animals that did not receive stem cell transplantation. The engrafted cells also migrated and differentiated into neural and glial subtypes in areas of the hippocampus.
"The engrafted stem cells survived and differentiated throughout an area of the hippocampus and significantly ameliorated cognitive dysfunction as shown at a one-month follow-up on the irradiated animals," said Dr. Limoli. "While it is premature to presume efficacy in the absence of human data, our efforts to thwart cognitive dysfunction by cell replacement therapy with fetal stem cell transplantation may provide an experimental backdrop for a potential treatment for cranially irradiated patients who developed cognitive dysfunctions."
"Cognitive dysfunction is an unfortunate side effect of the therapeutic use of radiation therapy for brain cancer and the identification of ways to ameliorate the dysfunction, such as the application of stem cell transplantation, is a significant area of research" said Dr. Paul R. Sanberg, distinguished professor at the Center of Excellence for Aging and Brain Repair, Morsani College of Medicine, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL.
"This study is an important step towards the development of a clinical therapy, though further research is still required."
|Contact: Bob Miranda|
Cell Transplantation Center of Excellence for Aging and Brain Repair