Home / Stem Cell Enhancement and Huntington’s Disease

Stem Cell Enhancement and Huntington’s Disease

Holistic Health Information on Natural Stem Cell Enhancement and
Huntington’s Disease

Hematopoetic and Mesenchymal – Two Significant Stem Cell Types

Stem Cells, the “Master” cells of the body, are the focus of a study to see if certain stem cell types
can fight Huntington’s Disease (HD). HealthyNewAge.com is pleased to share Holistic Health Information about natural
Stem Cell Enhancers.

Stem Cell Research Information

Stem Cells Help Brain Repair, Make New Neurons and Blood Vessels After Stroke

This Article Adapted from a Medical College of Georgia Press Release 05-May-02

Online Source: Huntington’s Disease: Information and Community

This work has implications for all sorts of brain injuries early and late in life such as cerebral palsy, Parkinson’s
and Alzheimer’s disease.

In the first hours and days following a stroke, stem cells leave the bone marrow to help the injured brain repair
damaged neurons and make new neurons and blood vessels, according to researchers at the Medical College of Georgia.

The research, reported in the May issue of Stroke, used a mouse model in which the animal’s marrow was replaced
with that of a transgenic mouse with cells that make a jellyfish protein that fluoresces green so they could trace
the cells and the natural repair process that apparently occurs after stroke.

The researchers, who also have appointments at the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, are now looking
for the right factors to enhance the normal repair mechanism, improve stroke recovery and, since the patient’s own
cells would be used, avoid issues such as the compatibility of donated stem cells and the ethical controversy surrounding
embryonic stem cells.

This image shows a slice of a mouse brain that has been damaged by stroke on the right side; green stains show where
the cells bodies are located. Regions on the right, highlighted by asterisks, show where neurons died.

They also want to identify which bone marrow stem cell types are targeted for this repair and how they are called
to the site of injury, suspecting that inflammation may be part of this “homing” process.

“We tried to determine whether cells that reside in your bone marrow and circulate throughout the blood could
turn into any of the major brain cells types,” said Dr. David Hess, neurologist, stroke specialist, chairman
of the MCG Department of Neurology and lead author on the study.

They found in the animal model, evidence that bone marrow cells naturally migrate to injured regions of the brain
after stroke to help repair damaged tissue; they also become endothelial cells that form new blood vessels and what
appear to be new neurons.

“Such repairs occurred naturally in response to stroke and the bone marrow is involved in those repair mechanisms,” said
Dr. William D. Hill, neuroscientist in the MCG Department of Cellular Biology and Anatomy and second author on the
research paper. “We think that when you have a stroke, you have this central core area that is highly affected.
Then you have this area like a shell surrounding the core, called the penumbra, like a shadow, that has a gradient
of damage as you move from the core of the stroke to the unaffected tissue. This is the area that is going to be
the most sensitive to being repaired. So maybe if we can enhance that repair, we could preserve a region that would
normally die but is an area we can target to recover.”

Enhancement could come through the use of growth factors that affect subsets of bone marrow cells; possibly some
already on the market, for example to help leukemia patients rebuild bone marrow after chemotherapy, might be useful.

“If this works out, you will be able to give individuals shots following stroke to boost their bone marrow
to proliferate these stem cells to do specific tasks, target specific groups of these stem cells important to blood
vessel repair and the genesis of new neurons,” Dr. Hill said.

This repair process mimics embryological development when stem cells from the bone marrow help form blood vessels
in the brain. “There are some data that older people don’t have as many circulating stem cells as younger, healthier
people do,” Dr. Hess said, so enhancing the cell number involved in repair should enhance the natural process.

Enhancing the natural process could avoid more aggressive measures such as transplanting cell-laden bone marrow. “Why
would we transplant bone marrow cells into people when their bone marrow already has these cells?” Dr. Hess
said. “It makes much more sense to actually maximize what they already put out. Also, rather than taking bone
marrow out and injecting it into the brain, why not make use, again, of this natural process that summons the cells
to the location of the brain injury?”

Finding what summons the cells to the injury site is key, and the researchers are looking at specific molecules
up-regulated in inflammation that they suspect are also involved in homing. “Certain factors released and expressed
on the surface of damaged endothelial cells may act as flags to wave down passing white blood cells or stem cells
to attach there,” Dr. Hill said.

Also key is identifying which specific stem cells are summoned and are needed to make new blood vessels, support
cells and neurons. This may permit selective recruitment and proliferation of just the cells needed for repair, Dr.
Hill said.

There are two known broad classes of these cells, hematopoetic and mesenchymal, but there may be many unknown cell
types, including a separate group involved in making endothelial cells, Dr. Hess said.

Just last week, through a collaborative study with the Medical University of South Carolina, they received the first
mouse that, through a process called clonal analysis, will enable them to tag a single cell, then watch for its descendents’
roles in the normal repair process.

They also are collaborating with fellow MCG researcher Nevin Lambert to do a functional analysis of the new neurons
produced by the stem cells to ensure that they not only look like but function as neurons.

The published research was funded by the American Heart Association and has been presented at recent meetings of
the association and the Society of Neuroscience. The scientists have received funding from the National Institutes
of Health for follow-up studies.

What Are the Different Types of Stem Cells?

Adult stem cell – a stem cell from an adult person. Just a few years ago, these stem cells
were believe to be limited to make only blood cells. We now have some scientific evidence that these stem cells have
a great deal of potential.

Cord blood stem cell – a stem cell isolated from the blood in the umbilical cord from
a new born baby. Less ethical concerns are attached to the use of cord blood cells, because the cord is a “waste
product.” Some people even pay to have their child’s cord blood frozen for later use, should the child need
stem cells.

Embryonic stem cell – a stem cell from a fetus. The scientific belief has been that these
cells are the only cells that are so primitive that they are capable of becoming almost any other cell.

Stem cell – A cell that has the ability to continuously divide and differentiate (develop)
into various other kind(s) of cells/tissues. An unspecialized cell that gives rise to a specific specialized cell,
such as a blood cell or a muscle cell.

What is the Overall Potential of ASC (Adult Stem Cells)?

Based on novel scientific discoveries during the last few years, the very definition of what a stem cell is has
recently undergone a dramatic change. Previously, it was believed that stem cells followed a linear path from primitive
and immature to sequentially more mature cell types.

We now know of many examples of stem cells displaying a whole different flexibility, or “plasticity.” In
some cases, stem cells have been made from more mature cell types, in other cases, primitive cells from one organ
has been coached to make cells of a completely different type.

Therefore, science and medicine is scrambling to revise many concepts pertaining to stem cell biology, stem cell
therapy, preventive medicine, and rejuvenation.

The Natural Stem Cell Research Specific to Huntington’s Disease

New Hope for treating Huntington’s Disease – This article details experiments with mice, treated with a protein
called FGF-2, and the implications of that work for treating Huntington’s.

Scientists at the Novato, Calif., institute say mice genetically engineered to develop HD were treated with FGF-2,
a protein shown to increase the growth of new blood vessels in human clinical trials.

In the study, the use of FGF-2 resulted in a 150 percent increase in new cells in the Huntington’s mouse brain,
compared with a 30 percent increase in non-genetically engineered mice.

Researchers say the treatment extended the life span of the affected mice by 20 percent and the animals exhibited
improved motor performance, decreased cell death and a reduction in the amount of toxic aggregates that typically
form in the brains of those affected by HD.

Lisa Ellerby, lead scientist of the study, said the new cells migrated to the area of the brain affected by Huntington’s
disease and assumed the features of the type of neuron commonly lost in HD.

The research appears in the on-line edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International. All Rights Reserved.

Where do Scientists Get Stem Cells?

The controversy surrounding aspects of stem cell research comes from the way some of the stem cells are acquired.
Some stem cell researchers get the cells from human embryos that are but a few days old while others take them from
fetus tissue over 8 weeks in development. The objections are strong from those who feel this is taking a life in
the name of science.

Other ways stem cells can be obtained: taking stem cells from human umbilical cords (mothers can donate their cords
for this purpose) or from adults through bone marrow.

If you enjoyed this article, read another article offering Additional
Stem Cell Research Information.