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Thursday, December 1, 2016

New Pool of Neural Stem Cells Found in Brain Meninges Could Lead to New Therapies for MS, Other Diseases


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Researchers have found neural stem cells (immature cells that can become neurons) in the meninges of the brain, a three-layer structure that protects the nervous system, according to results of a new study.
The discovery of this pool of stem cells in the adult brain opens new possibilities for the treatment of diseases that are characterized by brain damage and neuronal loss, including multiple sclerosis (MS).
The study, “Neurogenic Radial Glia-Like Cells In Meninges Migrate And Differentiate Into Functionally Integrated Neurons In The Neonatal Cortex,” published in the journal Cell Stem Cell, was conducted by a team of international researchers from several countries.
The adult nervous system (brain and spinal cord) is surrounded and protected by three membranes called the meninges (dura mater, arachnoid mater, and pia mater). Neural stem cells are produced during embryonic development. According to a news release, scientists believed for decades that in the adult brain, these cells existed only within the brain tissue, making their access complicated.
Now, researchers found that the meninges also store a pool of neural stem cells, showing that these membranes can be a source of newly produced neurons in the adult brain. This finding is of great importance considering that many diseases, such as MS, result from neuronal loss, and support the idea that the adult brain has a certain capacity to regenerate and heal itself.

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