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Regenerative biology: New nerve cells connect

J. Neurosci. 30, 894–904 (2010)

Transplanting nerve-cell precursors derived from embryonic stem cells into the brain may be a promising repair strategy, but getting the cells to connect with the right parts of the brain has proved challenging.

James Weimann and his colleagues at Stanford Medical School in California transplanted the cells into the mouse cerebral cortex after conditioning them in vitro with a specific set of bone-marrow cells. The transplanted cells then specialized into cortical neurons that projected far into appropriate brain regions while avoiding inappropriate areas. For example, cells placed in the motor cortex extended to the spinal tract by the same route as native motor cortex neurons.

The authors conclude that cells derived from embryonic stem cells can integrate into the correct brain circuits, a key step towards stem-cell-based neural therapies.

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Regenerative biology: New nerve cells connect. Nature 463, 404 (2010).

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