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stem cell

Stem cell discovery could aid in developing treatments to control epileptic convulsions

A new line of human stem cells shows promise for one day advancing treatment for epileptic seizures. As reported in STEM CELLS Translational Medicine (SCTM), the cells are designed to deliver adenosine – which calms down overexcited neurons and protects them from damage — to the central nervous system (CNS). The research was conducted by scientists at the University of Bonn and the Central Institute of Mental Health (CIMH) in Mannheim. Adenosine is a powerful regulator that helps the body maintain its inner balance. When an injury occurs to the CNS, it releases high levels of adenosine, which calms down the overexcited neurons and alleviates neurological damage caused by stroke, trauma, reduced oxygen, pain and, in particular, epileptic seizures. “But attempts to systemically deliver adeno...

Researchers aim to explore whether cell transplantation can treat temporal lobe epilepsy

Researchers at Cardiff University’s School of Medicine are about to explore whether it’s possible to treat human temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) by transplanting immature neuron cells into the brain. The new project, funded by a 24-month pilot grant from Epilepsy Research UK (ERUK), will allow the team to carry out research vital to the progression of this form of TLE treatment to human clinical trials, which could potentially take place in the next 3-5 years. A chronic neurological condition characterized by recurrent, unprovoked seizures, epilepsy affects over 600,000 people nationwide, with 32,000 people newly diagnosed with the condition each year. With TLE a loss/dysfunction of interneurons in the hippocampus of the brain is one of the earliest changes. In theory, it should b...

Running May Prevent Side Effects of AEDs

The simple act of running may be sufficient to prevent long-term cognitive impairments caused by prenatal exposure to antiepileptic drugs, according to a study published November 19th in Stem Cell Reports, the journal of the International Society for Stem Cell Research. The findings revealed that prenatal exposure to a commonly used antiepileptic drug called valproic acid (VPA) inhibited the birth of new neurons in the brains of adult mice and impaired their performance on learning and memory tasks. Remarkably, these postnatal side effects were largely prevented when the mice were given access to a running wheel at a young age.

Discovery has clear implications in the quest for new epilepsy treatments

The mission of neural stem cells located in the hippocampus, one of the main regions of the brain, is to generate new neurons during the adult life of mammals, including human beings, of course, and their function is to participate in certain types of learning and responses to anxiety and stress. Using an epilepsy model in genetically modified mice, the researchers have discovered that hippocampal neural stem cells stop generating new neurons and are turned into reactive astrocytes, a cell type that promotes inflammation and alters communication between neurons. This research work has also made it possible to confirm the hypothesis in a previous piece of research by these researchers; this hypothesis established that even though neuronal hyperexcitation does not go as far as to cause convu...

Transplantation of embryonic neural cells can alleviate epilepsy seizure activity in mice

New research from North Carolina State University pinpoints the areas of the cerebral cortex that are affected in mice with absence epilepsy and shows that transplanting embryonic neural cells into these areas can alleviate symptoms of the disease by reducing seizure activity. The work may help identify the areas of the human brain affected in absence epilepsy and lead to new therapies for sufferers. Absence epilepsy primarily affects children. These seizures differ from “clonic-tonic” seizures in that they don’t cause muscle spasms; rather, patients “zone out” or stare into space for a period of time, with no memory of the episode afterward. Around one-third of patients with absence epilepsy fail to respond to medication, demonstrating the complexity of the d...

STEM CELL RESEARCH: Scientists grow mini brains from stem cells

(via CNN) — We’ve seen beating heart tissue, windpipes and bladders all grown from stem cells. Now researchers have taken another important step forward by growing mini brains from these programmable cells. They’re not actually functioning brains — in the same way that a car with the engine on its roof or wheels on its hood isn’t a drivable vehicle — but the parts are there, and that’s an important scientific advancement, according to Juergen Knoblich, senior author of a new study on using stem cells to grow brain tissue. Scientists have created what they are calling “cerebral organoids” using stem cells. These pea-sized structures are made of human brain tissue, and they can help researchers explore important questions about brain deve...

STEM CELL RESEARCH: Epilepsy in a dish: Stem cell research reveals clues to disease’s origins and possible treatment

U-M-led study of neurons created from skin of patients with Dravet syndrome ANN ARBOR, Mich. — A new stem cell-based approach to studying epilepsy has yielded a surprising discovery about what causes one form of the disease, and may help in the search for better medicines to treat all kinds of seizure disorders. The findings, reported by a team of scientists from the University of Michigan Medical School and colleagues, use a technique that could be called “epilepsy in a dish”. By turning skin cells of epilepsy patients into stem cells, and then turning those stem cells into neurons, or brain nerve cells, the team created a miniature testing ground for epilepsy. They could even measure the signals that the cells were sending to one another, through tiny portals called sodium ch...

Renewed Promise For Cell Therapy In Epilepsy

[Epilepsy Research UK] Neurons communicate with each other via chemical messengers known as neurotransmitters, which are either excitatory or inhibitory. An excitatory neurotransmitter causes the ’next’ neuron to fire an electrical signal, whilst an inhibitory one causes it remain inactive. The major excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmitters in the brain are known as glutamate and GABA respectively, and a fine balance between the two must be maintained for normal brain function to occur. In epilepsy there is too much excitation in the brain, and this can be a result of excess glutamate or insufficient GABA. In both cases neurons are at risk of becoming hyperexcitable and seizures can result.

Stem Cell Research Offers Insights into Epilepsy, Schizophrenia, other Neuropsychological Disorders

Medical researchers have manipulated human stem cells into producing types of braincells known to play important roles in neurodevelopmental disorders such as epilepsy, schizophrenia and autism. The new model cell system allows neuroscientists to investigate normal brain development, as well as to identify specific disruptions in biological signals that may contribute to neuropsychiatric diseases. Scientists from The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the Sloan-Kettering Institute for Cancer Research led a study team that described their research in the journal CellStem Cell, published online today.

BREAKTHROUGH: Stem cell transplant heals neurological deficits in mice

For the first time, human embryonic stem cells have been transformed into nerve cells that helped mice regain the ability to learn and remember. A study at the University of Wisconsin-Madison is the first to show that human stem cells can successfully implant themselves in the brain and then heal neurological deficits, says senior author Su-Chun Zhang, a professor of neuroscience and neurology. Once inside the mouse brain, the implanted stem cells formed two common, vital types of neurons, which communicate with the chemicals GABA or acetylcholine. “These two neuron types are involved in many kinds of human behavior, emotions, learning, memory, addiction and many other psychiatric issues,” says Zhang.