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New neurons / parkinson cure


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MedicalXpress has an article on growing new neurons: 

One-time treatment generates new neurons, eliminates Parkinson's disease in mice

Trying a different technique to create a stable cell line that's permanently lacking PTB. At first, the postdoc complained about that too, because it made the cells grow so slowly.

But then he noticed something odd after a couple of weeks—there were very few fibroblasts left. Almost the whole dish was instead filled with neurons.

the team discovered that inhibiting or deleting just a single gene, the gene that encodes PTB, transforms several types of mouse cells directly into neurons.

Just a single treatment to inhibit PTB in mice converted native astrocytes, star-shaped support cells of the brain, into neurons that produce the neurotransmitter dopamine. As a result, the mice's Parkinson's disease symptoms disappeared.

In the treated mice, a small subset of astrocytes converted to neurons, increasing the number of neurons by approximately 30 percent. Dopamine levels were restored to a level comparable to that in normal mice. What's more, the neurons grew and sent their processes into other parts of brain. There was no change in the control mice.

By two different measures of limb movement and response, the treated mice returned to normal within three months after a single treatment, and remained completely free from symptoms of Parkinson's disease for the rest of their lives. In contrast, the control mice showed no improvement.

 

 

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Yes, interesting. 

 

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Of course, mice aren't people, [ Xiang-Dong Fu, Ph.D ] cautioned. The model the team used doesn't perfectly recapitulate all essential features of Parkinson's disease. But the study provides a proof of concept, Fu said.

Next, the team plans to optimize their methods and test the approach in mouse models that mimic Parkinson's disease through genetic changes. They have also patented the PTB antisense oligonucleotide treatment in order to move forward toward testing in humans.

"It's my dream to see this through to clinical trials, to test this approach as a treatment for Parkinson's disease, but also many other diseases where neurons are lost, such as Alzheimer's and Huntington's diseases and stroke," Fu said. "And dreaming even bigger—what if we could target PTB to correct defects in other parts of the brain, to treat things like inherited brain defects?

"I intend to spend the rest of my career answering these questions."

 

 

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