Rejuvenating brain stem cells may hold key to future MS treatments

Researchers are studying ways to make older brain stem cells more youthful.

Scientists at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom studied oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs), a type of stem cell. OPCs are important in the healthy functioning of the brain and the rest of the central nervous system. OPCs mature into oligodendrocytes, which produce the myelin sheath that surrounds nerve fibers and preserves the electrical signals that they carry. Destruction of myelin is a hallmark of multiple sclerosis, and changes related to aging OPCs contribute to the process.

Using a mouse model, scientists transplanted OPCs from older rats into the brains of younger rats, and the aged OPCs began to function like youthful OPCs.

More research is needed to understand this phenomenon, and its potential uses in those who have conditions such as MS. The study has been published in Nature.

Scientists have found a way to rejuvenate brain stem cells in rats. The finding offers clues on how to restore lost brain function in diseases such as MS.

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