More research recently published in Brain Research titled “Intravenous transplantation of bone marrow-derived mono-nuclear cells prevents memory impairment in transgenic mouse models of Alzheimer’s disease.” shows how stem cell therapy may be a promising technique for preventing the cognitive decline associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Because of the potential for stem cell therapy to help in neurological disorders, it is already being used in clinical trials for certain afflictions, such as stroke. Here, the scientists demonstrate how the implantation of bone marrow-derived mononuclear cells (BMMC‘s) can both reduce the deposits of Amyloid-β (Amyloid beta), the protein that characterizes Alzheimer’s disease, as well as improve memory in a mouse model of the disease.
“Together, our results indicate that intravenous transplantation of BMMC‘s (bone marrow-derived mono-nuclear (stem) cells) has preventive effects against the cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s disease model mice and suggest a potential therapeutic effect of BMMC transplantation therapy.”
Amyloid beta, which is observed in the brains of those with forms of dementia including Alzheimer’s disease, has previously been shown to lead to cognitive deficits. Many attempts to develop preventions and treatments for Alzheimer’s disease have thus targeted this specific protein. However, none of these efforts have yet been clinically successful. Our growing understanding of stem cells and their therapeutic applications has opened up a promising new avenue for Alzheimer’s disease research.
The researchers chose to specifically use BMMC‘s because of their heterogeneity and because they are relatively easy to purify and do not requiring culturing. They implanted these cells in DAL mice, which have mitochondrial dysfunction similar to that observed in Alzheimer’s disease. In these mice, BMMC‘s prevented the aggregation of Amyloid beta and led mice to perform as well as normal mice in a spatial and learning and memory task. Impressively, these effects were observed even when cognitive decline had already begun in DAL mice.
This research strongly supports the idea that stem cells could help prevent the physiological and behavioral manifestations of Alzheimer’s disease. As research moves into the clinical phase, the specific ways that stem cells can aid in dealing with this devastating disease.
Kanamaru, T. et al. (2015). Intravenous transplantation of bone marrow-derived mononuclear cells prevents memory impairment in transgenic mouse models of Alzheimer’s disease. Brain Research, 1605, 49-58.