New Brain Stem Cell

Progenitor cells discovered in the brain’s small blood vessels have the capacity to differentiate into neurons and other tissue types.

By | April 23, 2012

Wellcome Images, Mark Lythgoe & Chloe Hutton

WELLCOME IMAGES, MARK LYTHGOE & CHLOE HUTTON

Researchers have isolated a previously uncharacterized progenitor cell population from two regions of the adult human brain, the ventricular zone wall and the neocortex, a new PLoS ONE study reported.Although their function remains to be determined, the new cells resemble mesenchymal stem cells and have the capacity to differentiate into adipocytes, chondroblasts, osteoblasts, glial cells, and immature neurons in vitro.

“Most interesting is their ability to form neuronal cells,” lead author Gesine Paul-Visse, neuroscientist at Lund University said in a press release. “The results contribute to a better understanding of how brain cell plasticity works and opens up new opportunities to exploit these very features.”

Among the possibilities for these new cells, the researchers hope they can be used for healing and repairing brain tissue.

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