New research has shown how astrocytes control the generation of new neurons in the brain. Earlier research in the same laboratory demonstrated that astrocytes reduce brain tissue damage after stroke and that the integration of transplanted neural stem cells can be largely improved by modulating the activity of astrocytes.
“In the brain, astrocytes control how many new neurons are formed from neural stem cells and survive to integrate into the existing neuronal networks, said Milos Pekny, Professor and Laboratory Director, Center for Brain Repair and Rehabilitation, Dept. of Clinical Neuroscience and Rehabilitation, University of Gothenburg. "Astrocytes do this by secreting specific molecules but also by much less understood direct cell-cell interactions with stem cells.”
“We are starting to understand some of the cellular and molecular mechanisms behind the control of neurogenesis," added Dr. Pekny. "Neurogenesis is one of the components of brain plasticity, which plays a role in the learning process as well as in the recovery after brain injury or stroke. This work helps us to understand how plasticity and regenerative response can be therapeutically promoted in the future”
Selected Stem Cell Digest Neural Stem Cell Posts:
August 12, 2012 - New Neural Stem Cell Population
June 25, 2012 - Blood Brain Barrier Building Blocks
June 8, 2012 - Neural Stem Cells Induced From Transfer Of Single Gene
Adapted from the University of Gothenburg announcement.