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," said Su-Chun Zhang, professor of neuroscience and neurology at the University of Wisconsin.
The transplanted cells were placed in the hippocampus (an interesting aside: see the release on Neuralstem Inc.'s Phase 1b trial regarding its neurogenic small molecule drug platform for hippocampal regeneration in MDD patients). After the transferred cells were implanted, in response to chemical directions from the brain, they started to specialize and connect to the appropriate cells in the hippocampus.
After the transplant, the mice scored significantly better on common tests of learning and memory in mice.
Read the entire University of Wisconsin announcement here