Researchers Demystify a Fountain of Youth in the Adult Brain
Duke University Medical Center researchers have found that a “fountain of youth” that sustains the production of new neurons in the brains of rodents is also believed to be present in the human brain.
The existence of a vital support system of cells around stem cells in the brain explains why stem cells by themselves can’t generate neurons in a lab dish, a major roadblock in using these stem cells for injury repair.
“We believe these findings will have important implications for human therapy,” said Chay Kuo, MD, PhD, George Brumley Jr. Assistant Professor of Cell Biology, Pediatrics, and Neurobiology, and senior author of the study.
The study is the cover story in the July issue of Neuron, published online July 14.
The scientists found that neighboring “epithelial-like” ependymal cells — not stem cells themselves — maintain a special structure that keeps neural stem cells “neurogenic,” able to make new neurons.