"Remyelination of the spinal cord after injury may be a step closer"

Brain and spinal cord injuries may soon have a new treatment process that is natural and based on the individual’s own stem cells. Oligodendrocyte, precursor cells (OPCs), are  a type of cell found in the brain and nervous system that forms the coating around the nerve cells. These cells are formed during embryo formation in the ventricular zone of the neural tube (embryonic spinal cord), and the cells migrate outwards along the circumference of the tube, and then along its length. During this migration, OPCs actively seek axons around which they can wrap

their processes once they have differentiated into oligodendrocytes. Myelination, the process by which oligodendrocytes wrap their processes around nerve fibers, begins towards the end of embryonic development, and continues post-natally coating around the nerve cells.

These cells are formed during embryo formation in the ventricular zone of the neural tube (embryonic spinal cord), and the cells migrate outwards along the circumference of the tube, and then along its length. During this migration, OPCs actively seek axons around which they can wrap their processes once they have differentiated into oligodendrocytes. Myelination, the process by which oligodendrocytes wrap their processes around nerve fibers, begins towards the end of embryonic development, and continues postnatally.


Throughout their migration, these cells extend and retract filopodia-like processes to obtain cues from their surroundings. Upon coming into contact with neighboring OPCs. These hair or cilia like projections are withdrawn and then extended in the opposite direction. This seems to be a mutual repulsion mechanism which ensures that OPCs are evenly distributed along the length of the axons they will myelinate (coat). An axon is a long, slender extension of a nerve cell, or neuron, that conducts electrical impulses away from the neuron’s cell body

Oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs) comprise 5% of the cells in the adult brain, where they are the most proliferative cell present. They can generate both neurons and glial cells, making them an important stem cell population in the adult brain.
The bottom line is that this animal model with the injection of  hESC-OPCs cells has demonstrated that remyelination of the cervical injury site and the restoration of movement to the  limbs of these animals may help restore function in spinal cord injuries victims in the future.
Resources

Excerpts courtesy of    http://bit.ly/ctDR8x
Excerpts courtesy of    http://bit.ly/cNOulI
Image of myelination process courtesy of  http://bit.ly/c8wmkH
Image of neuron courtesy of  http://bit.ly/BECvB

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