Gastrointestinal motility disorders such as achalasia, congenital hypertrophic pyloric stenosis, and Hirschsprung's disease are characterized by complete or partial irreversible loss of nitric oxide–producing neurons in the myenteric plexus of the gut. In October Gastroenterology, Maria-Adelaide Micci and colleagues from University of Texas show that NO-producing central nervous system-derived neural stem cells (CNS-NSC) survive within the pyloric wall following transplantation, possibly by responding to the enteric neurotrophin GDNF.

Micci et al. investigated the ability of CNS-NSC from rats to survive and function in the gastrointestinal tract after transplantation. They found that that CNS-NSC can be successfully transplanted into the mouse gastrointestinal tract, where they seem to survive for several weeks, differentiate into neurons and express nNOS. In addition, in vitro studies showed that CNS-NSC express a functional receptor system for the enteric neurotrophin GDNF (RET and GFRα1) (Gastroenterology 2001, 121:757-766).

These results suggest transplantation of CNS-NSC cells...

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