Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Mouse epiSCs Into Myelinating Cells

This study published recently in Nature Methods hit my radar scope becaused it referenced use of our widely used and frequently published stem cell marker Tuj 1 (Neuron-specific class III beta-tubulin): Fadi J Najm, Anita Zaremba, Andrew V Caprariello, Shreya Nayak, Eric C Freundt, Peter C Scacheri, Robert H Miller & Paul J Tesar. Rapid and robust generation of functional oligodendrocyte progenitor cells from epiblast stem cells. Nature Methods (2011) doi:10.1038/nmeth.1712.

Dr. Paul Tesar and his team at Case Western University demonstrated the ability to convert pluripotent epiblast stem cells into pure populations of myelinating cells, called oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs). First, stem cells in a petri dish are treated with molecules to direct them to become the most primitive cells in the nervous system. To produce OPCs, these primitive cells are treated with a defined set of proteins. The cells were cultured on laminin and treated withh apporopriate growth factors. The OPCs were nearly homogenous and could be multiplied to obtain more than a trillion cells.

The OPCs were treated with thyroid hormone, which is key to regulating the transition of the OPCs to oligodendrocytes. The result was the OPCs stopped proliferating and turned into oligodendrocytes within four days.

These methods could used to potentially produce stable and pure populations of human OPCs in a significant enough number to treat patients with demyelinating diseases such as multiple sclerosis and cerebral palsy.

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