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Better way to transplant human stem cells

Technique holds potential for treatment of traumatic brain injury, neurodegeneration

Society for Neuroscience

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IMAGE: hES cells were differentiated into NPC or cerebral organoids. Stereotactic surgery was performed to transplant one single cerebral organoid in the lesioned frontoparietal cortex in postnatal day 8-10 mice. For... view more 

Credit: Daviaud et al., eNeuro (2018)

A tissue-like structure created from human stem cells and implanted into a damaged region of the mouse brain improves cell survival and differentiation relative to conventional, cell-based methods. The research, published in eNeuro, encourages further investigation of this strategy and its potential to treat traumatic brain injury and neurodegeneration.

Hongyan Zou and colleagues compared two methods for transplanting human pluripotent stem cells into the frontoparietal cortex of young mice, part of which was removed. The researchers report that growing cells into a miniature, brain-like organoid for just over a month into was superior to transplanting individual neural progenitor cells. The three-dimensional structure may have helped shield transplanted cells from the damaged host brain to promote their survival.

These findings, together with a previous study demonstrating the feasibility of a similar cell replacement technique, provides a new way to study human brain development and disease progression in the laboratory. They also warrant consideration of the ethical issues associated with the development of cerebral organoids for therapeutic purposes.

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Article: Vascularization and engraftment of transplanted human cerebral organoids in mouse cortex

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1523/ENEURO.0219-18.2018

Corresponding author: Hongyan Zou (Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY, USA), hongyan.zou@mssm.edu

About eNeuro

eNeuro, the Society for Neuroscience's open-access journal launched in 2014, publishes rigorous neuroscience research with double-blind peer review that masks the identity of both the authors and reviewers, minimizing the potential for implicit biases. eNeuro is distinguished by a broader scope and balanced perspective achieved by publishing negative results, failure to replicate or replication studies. New research, computational neuroscience, theories and methods are also published.

About The Society for Neuroscience

The Society for Neuroscience is the world's largest organization of scientists and physicians devoted to understanding the brain and nervous system. The nonprofit organization, founded in 1969, now has nearly 37,000 members in more than 90 countries and over 130 chapters worldwide.

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