Drs. Obenaus and Ashwal Publish New Stem Cell Paper on Brain Injury

Dr. Stephen Ashwal and Dr. Andre Obenaus, both members of the UCR Stem Cell Center, have recently published a new study in the Annals of Neurology. This study, which was done in collaboration with Dr. Evan Snyder from the Burnham Institute, uses magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to track the movement of neural stem cells (NSC) in the brains of 10 day old rat pups that had experienced hypoxic ischemic injury. There is evidence from prior studies that stem cells in the brain can migrate to areas of injury, and by a mechanism that is not yet understood, help repair the lesion.

In this study, the authors used MRI to quantify various aspects of dynamic cellular behavior such as viability, speed of migration, proliferation, and integration into the host tissue. They found that the injected stem cells migrated rapidly to the site of injury and proliferated with no adverse consequences. Large numbers of NSCs remained at the site of injury long after injection. These data show that MRI can be used to monitor both neonatal brain injuries and migration to NSCs to the site of injury. Equally important they were able to monitor proliferative activity of the stem cells over long periods of time. This study represents an important first step in the eventual use of stem cells to treat human patients with brain injuries.

Dr. Ashwal and Obenaus have appointments at Loma Linda University where the imaging was done. Dr. Ashwal is a member of the UCR Stem Cell Core Advisory Committee and Dr. Obenaus is an adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience at UCR.

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Posted 12-13-2010

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