Cell Therapy for Cardiovascular and Neurological Disorders

Neural stem cells (NSCs) and neural precursor cells (NPCs) can be isolated from the developing or adult CNS and can be safely expanded in chemically defined culture media for an extended period. The characteristics of restorative capacity and multipotentiality (Figure, A-D) suggest that NSCs may provide an unlimited source of neurons and glia for the treatment of neurologic disorders via cell replacement. Beneficial effects of NSC transplantation have been reported in several animal models of different neurologic diseases such as stroke, spinal cord injuries, Huntington disease, Parkinson disease (PD), multiple sclerosis (MS), and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Cell replacement therapy for stroke or spinal cord injury is a bigger challenge because transplanted NSCs need to replace a range of neuronal types, remyelinate axons, and repair complex neural circuitries. As a preliminary step toward this goal, a recent study showed that human fetal–derived NSCs transplanted into the brains of rodents after stroke survived, migrated, and differentiated into various types of neurons and glia.


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