Scientists have for long shown interest in stem cells and how they function in the human body, especially when something goes wrong with it.
Reducing inflammation and a high probability of reducing damages caused by Multiple sclerosis (MS) has been observed to have occurred when the skin cells of mice were reprogrammed into brain stem cells and transplanted to the central nervous system.
Researchers at the University of Cambridge led the study which will develop a personalized treatment of diseases of the Central Nervous System (CNS) by using the skin cells of the patient. MS brings a lot of confusion to signals sent to the brain. It rages war within the body system and causes the immune system to damage myelin, the protective sheath that covers nerve fibers that will lead to a disruption of the communication between the brain and other parts of the body.
It is difficult to point out the exact symptoms of multiple sclerosis; they are unpredictable. The symptoms are not the same for all patients but the difficulty in moving, imbalance, pain, and a feeling of extreme tiredness could be leading signals that a person has this disease.
Studies have also shown that the immune cells responsible for this disease are known as macrophages (an important white blood cell that locates and eats up bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi).
Microglia, a type of macrophage are found all over the brain and spinal cord, as MS gradually becomes severe, leading to inflammation and several damages to nerve cells.
Recent studies gave patients a glimpse of hope that diseases of the CNS may be curbed through stem cell therapy. Stem cells are known as the master cell of the body. They can take the form of other cells in the body.
Researchers from Cambridge University have previously shown that transplanting neural stem cells (NSCs) reduces inflammation and heal injuries in the CNS. Although, this therapy has a few downsides like the inability to obtain embryos (the source of NSCs) in large quantities, and the possibility that the immune system will destroy these embryos because they might be seen as a threat.
So far, the best solution will be the use of Induced Neural Stem Cells (iNSCs). This is done by taking the skin cells of an adult and reprogramming them back to neural stem cells. The immune system would fully accept this procedure because the cells used belongs to the patient.
Now, this research has been published in the journal Cell Stem Cell that researchers at the Univerity of Cambridge have proven that iNSCs is the best possible solution to reducing MS and injuries caused by it.
These researchers also discovered that the test mice manipulated to develop chronic MS have a high level of succinate, which causes inflammation in the cerebrospinal fluid and not in the peripheral blood by tricking macrophages and microglia.
The amount of succinate could be reduced by transplanting iNSCs and NSCs into the cerebrospinal fluid, thereby reprogramming the macrophages and microglia which will lead to a decrease in inflammation and damages to the brain and spinal cord.
This procedure has proven to be more effective with no negative response from the immune system and should be used over the conventional neural stem cells therapy.