Neural Stem Cells

Mobilized by electricity

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Science  11 Aug 2017:
Vol. 357, Issue 6351, pp. 561-562
DOI: 10.1126/science.357.6351.561-g

Harnessing neural stem cells to repair brain damage is difficult. Endogenous stem cells are located deep in the brain's hippocampus and subventricular zone (SVZ), and upon transplantation, stem cells often exhibit poor motility. Feng et al. have developed a model of transplanted, fluorescent-labeled human neural stem cells in the SVZ of the rat brain. The cells can be encouraged to migrate in a specific direction in response to an intermittent electric field emitted by implanted electrodes. Endogenous stem cells travel along the rostral migratory path from the SVZ to the olfactory bulb. An electric field can coax transplanted stem cells in different directions, and some cells remained viable and expressed differentiation markers several weeks later.

Stem Cell Rep. 9, 177 (2017).

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