New Method Allows for Stem Cell Propagation and Neurogenesis in Cell Culture
News May 01, 2007
Researchers are now able to study stem cells from the brains of adult mice and their neurogenesis in long-term cell cultures. Harish Babu and Dr. Gerd Kempermann, both from the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine, MDC, Berlin-Buch, the Volkswagenstiftung Research Group at the Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Germany, have developed a new method which allows them to generate exactly those neurons from stem cells in cell culture as those that would develop in the living brain.
They isolated the stem cells from a region of the hippocampus, the dentate gyrus, which is an island for neurogenesis in the adult brain.
First, they demonstrated that the hippocampus of adult mice does indeed have cells with stem cell properties – which had previously been debated upon – and, furthermore, that these stem cells develop into neurons of the hippocampus under certain conditions.
These stem cell cultures from which neurons can be generated are a powerful tool to study stem cells and their regulatory mechanisms in the hippocampus, the region for learning and memory, as stated in the researchers’ report in the American online journal Plos One.
Several years previously, Dr. Kempermann and other researchers were able to show that even the adult brains can build new neurons. The researchers assume that the new neurons in the hippocampus help the brain adjust to new challenges in life. If and how these new cells or their precursor cells, the stem cells, can be used to develop therapies against dementia remains to be seen.
Scientists have used machine learning to train computers to see parts of the cell the human eye cannot easily distinguish. Using 3D images of fluorescently labeled cells, the research team taught computers to find structures inside living cells without fluorescent labels, using only black and white images generated by an inexpensive technique known as brightfield microscopy.READ MORE
The National Institutes of Health announced the launch of a new initiative to help speed the development of cures for sickle cell disease. The Cure Sickle Cell Initiative will take advantage of the latest genetic discoveries and technological advances to move the most promising genetic-based curative therapies safely into clinical trials within five to 10 years.