Research highlight

Neuroscience: Understanding stem cell-based treatment of multiple sclerosis

Nature Communications

October 30, 2013

A molecule secreted by transplanted neural progenitor cells is key for the successful treatment of multiple sclerosis in a mouse model, reports a paper published in Nature Communications this week. The study enhances our understanding of the mechanisms behind induced pluripotent cell-derived cells when used in cell therapy.

Inflammatory demyelinating disorders, such as multiple sclerosis, are caused by inflammation and resulting injury of the protective myelin sheath that surrounds neurons. Gianvito Martino and colleagues produce mouse neural progenitor cells from induced pluripotent stem cells and implant these into the central nervous system of a mouse model for multiple sclerosis after disease onset. They show that inflammation attracts the implanted cells to sites of myelin damage and instructs them to secrete the neuroprotective molecule, leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF). Secreted LIF then promotes remyelination and cell survival, which reduces the mouse's pathological and clinical symptoms

doi: 10.1038/ncomms3597

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