In this study, cell transplant therapy in mice shows promise in providing neural repair from damage sustained during a stroke. When a stroke occurs, it causes damage to the connection in your neural network. If this damage is not repaired, it causes permanent problems in the brain. In this study scientists have used stem cells in an optochemogenetics approach to transplant the stems cells after a stroke to repair the damage caused and improve functionality.
Pluripotent stem cells were used in male and female mice of different ages. It was shown to give enhanced regenerative properties to these mice and show significant impacts in the way we treat brain injuries.
Route to Recovery After Stroke
It has been shown that cell transplantation therapy shows promise in treating stroke damage and helping to repair the broken connections in the brain. A new technique has been developed by Shan Ping Yu and other researchers from Emory University School of Medicine, to assist the stem cells during cell transplantation therapy to integrate into the body after injection. This technique is called optochemogenetics. A compound, called CZT, is given through the nose to activate networks in the brain that are reactive to light. After being introduced to the body, this compound provides light and works together with a protein to stimulate the cells for better efficacy.
The researchers from Emory University School of Medicine have started to use luciferase; this is an enzyme found in jellyfish that provides them with their bioluminescence or glow. The enzyme is used to help light travel through the tissue more easily during cellular transplantation therapy.
A study was performed on stroke mice models where some of the subjects received the enzyme through nasal inhalation, and some received light from another source such as a laser. The results of this study were compared to a third group that received no light source in combination with stem cell transplantation therapy. The results were promising and showed that the mice who had received some form of light source in addition to the injection had much more success at repair and recovery than the group who received no light stimulation. The team has decided to call this new way of providing light stimulation non-surgically through nasal inhalation “optochemogenetics.”
The results of the study continued to be even more exciting. Some of the mice were showing better sensorimotor function and damage repair in just a few short weeks. Some of the mice even returned to their pre-stroke conditions. Marcel Daadi, who is a researcher in the field of neuroscience was quoted saying that the optochemogenetics approach was “a clever way to ensure wide distribution of the drug, and to be able to stimulate pretty much the totality of the grafted cells.” Although he was not involved in the study, he is clearly impressed by the innovation of the technique. If this new technique is able to be used in humans, it’s possible it could be used to treat a multitude of neurological damage and disorders.
Let’s hope that scientists continue moving forward with this type of research!