Cell Biology

Inflammation Activates Neurons

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Science  09 May 2008:
Vol. 320, Issue 5877, pp. 718
DOI: 10.1126/science.320.5877.718b

Cell fusion is common in some tissues such as skeletal muscle. Studies using transplanted bone marrow-derived cells (BMDCs) have been complicated by observations that cell fusions between BMDCs and resident cell types can occur. Injury may increase the number of fusion events; however, it is not known whether fusogenic cells are functional.

Johansson et al. transplanted single hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) into lethally irradiated mice and found that Purkinje neurons fused with the HSCs. An alternate method for detecting such fusions entailed joining mice surgically, so that the parabiotic mice (one of which expressed green fluorescent protein) shared a circulatory system; 5 to 6 months after parabiosis, the cerebellums of both mice contained fluorescent Purkinje neurons. When chronic inflammation was present, cerebellar heterokaryon formation was enhanced, and differential gene expression analysis showed that the heterokaryons repressed hematopoietic genes and activated Purkinje neuron genes. — BAP

Nat. Cell Biol. 10, 10.1038/ncb1720 (2008).

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