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Spinal Cord Neural Stem Cells Migrate into Injury

Contribute to scar formation in mice

WEDNESDAY, July 23 (HealthDay News) -- A population of neural stem cells lining the central canal of the spinal cord in mice migrate into injured spinal cord and contribute to scar formation, according to the results of a study published in the July issue of PLoS Biology.

Konstantinos Meletis, Ph.D., and colleagues from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, used genetic fate mapping to map candidate neural stem cells close to the central canal of the spinal cord in mice.

The researchers found that nearly all of the in vitro neural stem cell potential was present in ependymal cells lining the central canal. These cells were maintained by self-renewal in vivo. Ependymal cells were activated by spinal cord injury, migrating outside the ependymal layer and towards the injury site, contributing to scar formation and generating astrocytes and myelinating oligodendrocytes, the report indicates.

"Modulating the fate of ependymal progeny after spinal cord injury may offer an alternative to cell transplantation for cell replacement therapies in spinal cord injury," Meletis and colleagues conclude.

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