In stroke-affected mice, reprogrammed skin cells regain motor control

Apr, 2021 - By SMI

In stroke-affected mice, reprogrammed skin cells regain motor control

Researchers at Ohio State University have created a new cellular reprogramming strategy that could be used to treat long-term brain damage in stroke victims

Scientists are breaking new ground in the field of cellular reprogramming, a rapidly growing field of medical science in which one type of cell is retrained to perform the functions of another. This technology was used by a team at Ohio State University (OSU) to rebuild damaged tissue in mice with stroke-affected brains, a method that the researchers hope will one day help improve speech and motor function.

In the case of a stroke, when the flow of blood to the brain is unexpectedly interrupted, most likely due to an arterial blockage. Ischemic strokes are caused by blood clots that shape and block arteries. Medications are available to break up the clots that form and block the arteries, but they must be performed within hours to be successful to prevent long-term damage to brain tissue.

Impaired voice, motor, and cognitive function are among the long-term symptoms, and there are currently no therapies available for these residual effects. The team at OSU set out to solve this problem by starting with skin cells. The researchers used tissue nanotransfection, a method in which genetic material is inserted into cells and retrains them to become vascular cells.

Daniel Gallego-Perez, lead of the research team said that skin cells' genetic code can be rewritten to allow them to become blood vessel cells. They will develop fresh, healthy vascular tissue in the brain to restore natural blood flow and help in the reconstruction of damaged brain tissue when they're implanted.

While the drug is still a long way from reaching humans, the researchers intend to expand on these positive early findings by doing further studies into how it can treat the long-term effects of ischemic stroke. They also say it could be used to treat Alzheimer's disease and autoimmune diseases in the future.

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