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Adult Stem Cells from Fat Protect the Brain Against Injury

Stem Cells, November 20, 2008

A multinational group of scientists has developed a type of conditioned media from adipose stromal cells which they have utilized to protect the brain against hypoxia- and ischemia-induced brain damage in neonatal rats.

Led by Dr. Xing Wei of the Department of Neurology at the Indiana University School of Medicine, the scientists used a neonatal Sprague-Dawley rat model of cerebral palsy to assess the protective properties of the adipose stem cell conditioned media on neurological tissue, from which they found that the conditioned media has a protective effect on brain cells when the media is administered either one hour before, or 24 hours after, the induction of ischemic injury. Specifically, the scientists observed protection against a loss of brain volume in the hippocampal and cortical regions of the brain. Additionally, the conditioned media was also found to preserve and protect mental function as measured according to the Morris water maze test. Possible mediators that were identified in the protective mechanism of the media included IGF-1 (insulinlike growth factor 1) and BDNF (brain derived neurotrophic factor).

Autologous (in which the donor and recipient are the same person) adult stem cells of several varieties have already been widely documented for their ability to mediate neural protection subsequent to brain insults such as stroke, after which it is already known that bone marrow stem cells, for example, are naturally mobilized, and the extent of a patient's bone marrow stem cell mobilization is directly related to the extent of his or her post-stroke recovery. Additionally, autologous adult stem cells derived from umbilical cord blood have been widely and repeatedly demonstrated to have therapeutic effects in children with cerebral palsy, as reported especially by Dr. Joanne Kurtzberg at Duke University. Now Dr. Wei's study sheds further light on the phenomenon by identifying with greater specificity the mechanisms of action that are involved in such therapeutic recovery.

Dr. Wei and his colleagues in Indiana conducted the study in collaboration with researchers in Germany, Ireland, and at the Rockefeller University in New York. The publication appeared in the IFATS Series, of the International Federation for Adipose Therapeutics and Science.



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