Adult brain contains stem cells, and researchers from Lund University (Switzerland) found a new type of these cells. As the discovered stem cells can divide and give rise to new brain cells, the researchers hope to develop new treatment solutions for brain injuries and diseases. The study has been published in the journal PLoS ONE.
The stem cells in the brain were found around small blood vessels during analysis of brain tissues from biopsies. Though the researchers do not know the cells’ particular functions, their ability to proliferate and form various cell types, including neural cells—neurons—can potentially be used for developing new therapies.
Similar cells have been found in other organs where they are responsible for organ repair and would healing. They help tissue regeneration, for example, they restore bone, muscle, cartilage, etc. Making parallels to these cells, the researchers suggest that brain stem cells can also have curative potential.
The finding can be beneficial to different directions in brain research. The cells can be used in stem cell therapies of various diseases and conditions, from traumas and stroke to neurodegenerative diseases. The researchers hope the discovery will help better understand brain repair mechanisms. As the next step, they plan to guide and enhance healing properties of these cells in order to treat specific brain areas.