In their article, Neurogenic differentiation of murine and human adipose-derived stromal cells, Kristine Safford and colleagues provide evidence for a new candidate for brain therapies. Much of our body’s tissue is able to regenerate to repair itself following injury. However, brain tissue, or neural tissue, does not have this capacity. It has therefore been a priority for medical researchers to identify strategies for repairing damaged brain tissue.
Certain cells, such as embryonic stem cells, can be treated so that they turn into brain cells. However, because it is difficult to access these types of cells, there has been an ongoing search for other ways to create neural tissue for therapeutic purposes. In this publication, the researchers share their finding that fat tissue, or adipose tissue from adults may be able to serve this function. Here, the researchers demonstrate that they were able to induce adipose-derived stem cells to undergo alterations that resulted in cells resembling brain cells, or neurons. The researchers were able to change both the shape and chemical features of ADSC‘s so that these aspects of the cells were consistent with those of normal neurons.
This study provides a new therapeutic candidate for brain injury. Ongoing research that aims to determine whether adipose-derived stem cells can be used to develop mature neurons that function appropriately as neurons will clarify whether ADSC‘s will indeed eventually be able to be used to treat specific brain injuries or abnormalities.