12-3 Stem Cell Transplantation in Neuro-logical Diseases
Stem Cell Transplantation in Neuro-logical Diseases
O. Einstein, BPT, MSc, PhD, and Tamir Ben-Hur, MD, PhD
Recent advances in stem cell biology have rai-sed enthusiastic expectations and hopes for their utilization in the treatment of neurological dise-ases. Currently there are several leading stem cell candidates for utilization in neurodegenerative diseases, including neural stem cells or neural pre-cursor cells, embryonic stem cell-derived neural stem cells and bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells. Indeed, beneficial effects - observed both clinically and in postmortem pathology - of transplantation of various types of stem cells have been reported in animal models of stroke, spinal cord injury, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and multiple sclerosis. It is now believed that the beneficial effects of stem cell transplantation are achieved through a combination of several mechanisms of action.
Originally, cell-based therapy was proposed as a means of cell replacement therapy for neurodegenerative diseases, which are characterized by cell dysfunction or loss. However, recent data on the therapeutic value of various stem cell types in different animal models of neurological diseases indicate that transplanted cells may also act through a combination of additional mechanisms, including attenuation of deleterious inflammation, protection of cells from degeneration and enhancement of endogenous recovery processes. Here, we overview the prospects of cell therapy for neurological diseases, examining issues involving the candidate cells and the therapeutic needs of brain tissue. We focus on the regenerative, anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective and neurotrophic properties of various types of neural and non-neural stem cells and how these can be beneficial to the brain.
Key words: Stem cells, Transplantation, Nervous system, Neurological diseases.