Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Migrating Neurons
01 January 2014

Migrating Neurons

A promising new treatment for diseases like Parkinson’s may lie in the use of neural stem cells. They could be transplanted into damaged brain tissue and grow to replace the neurons [nerve cells] lost to the ravenous disease. Unfortunately, there’s a problem with this plan; the new cells are reluctant to migrate away from their graft site. Scientists believe this is because newly transplanted cells are attracted to the existing brain cells nearby. On the right is a bright cluster of cells that have not migrated. However, if the chemicals that cause this attraction are blocked, the new cells are happy to move further away, into other brain areas (shown on the left by a spread of green branches). Enabling migration would allow neural stem cells to travel further afield and replace neurons that have been destroyed by neurological disease.

Written by Gaëlle Coullon

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