Scientists from Oslo University, Norway, have demonstrated for the first time, that stem cells obtained from adult human brain also may exhibit the properties of pluripotent stem cells beyond the limits of original tissue from which they were obtained. The method developed by the researchers also shows promise as a reliable production technique of stem cells derived from human brain. The results of their experiments have been published in PLOS One last week.
This type of brain-based neural stem cells has been cultured previously by multiple scientific teams, although most and if not all of them had one or another degree of limitation, related to either induction, harvesting, or differentiation of brain tissue-based stem cells.
Meanwhile, the Norvegian team of scientists was able to derive stem cells from adult human brain, and these cells were able to express so-called pluripotency proteins Sox2 and Oct4 without using artificial induction. These proteins are considered to be that biomarkers of the stem cell pluripotency.
Previously the same technique has beed tested in chicken and mice embryos, where stem cells had been transplanted into different anatomical locations to demonstrate their pluripotency capabilities, i.e. their ability to turn into the designated type of cells in some other tissue, different than the original source of cultured stem cells. However, this is the first time the same experiments were repeated using human cell cultures.
Authors say that on the basis of their method stem cells can be cultured from virtually any biopsy material. The size of biopsy also does not have to large: the team was able to obtain stem cells using relatively small fragments of tissue containing approximately 50 000 of initial neural cells. During experiments, the derived cells were able to differentiate into not only brain cells (i.e. neurons, astrocytes and oligodendrocytes), but also into cardiac muscle cells and skeletal muscle cells.
According to scientists, the results of the research clearly indicate that it is possible to obtain stem cells from brain tissue, similarly to stem cells obtained from other body locations.
Brain-derived cells could be used in various therapies, especially when the treatment of damaged brain is required, for example, in Parkinson’s disease or Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers still admit that more experiments are required to prove that cells are definitely pluripotent, to increase stability of derived cell cultures and also to develop practically viable therapeutic strategies for brain tissue repair using cells obtained from different regions of brain obtained the same patient.
Author: Alius Noreika, source: Technology.org