stem cells : recent updates on brain cell connections

this summer, some great stem cell research with implications for Parkinson’s disease came out of the Centre for Brain Research Centre at Aukland University, New Zealand.

in the brain, a slippery coating (polysiatic acid) on brain cells enable them to move easily to their destination, connect with other brain cells and turn into neurons. once they reach their target, the slippery coating is removed and the cell gets locked in place.

researchers have found that in neurodegenerative diseases, like Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease, there is an oversupply of insulin that blocks the process of removing the slippery coating. They are currently working on drugs that will act to increase the amount of reabsorption to help brain cells re-connect with each other. This is a clue to the decrease in brain plasticity seen in neurodegenerative diseases.

The study results were published online in July’s  ‘ahead of print’ version of The Journal of Neurochemistry. ‘Insulin and IGF1 modulate PSA-NCAM turnover in a process involving specific extracellular matrix components’, by Hector J. Monzo, Thomas I. H. Park, Birger Victor Dieriks, Deidre Jansson, Richard L. M. Faull, Mike Dragunow, Maurice A. Curtis.

some really exciting findings that will contribute to the development of possible disease modifying treatments for neurodegenerative diseases! much love.

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