Thursday, November 20, 2008

Neurons Derived From Embryonic Stem Cells Restore Muscle Function After Injury

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ScienceDaily (Nov. 20, 2008) — Dalhousie Medical School researchers have discovered that embryonic stem cells may play a critical role in helping people with nerve damage and motor neuron diseases, such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), regain muscular strength.

Motor neurons reside in the spinal cord and control limb movements by enabling muscles to contract. Diseases like ALS cause them to degenerate, resulting in muscle weakness, atrophy, and eventual paralysis.

“This study builds on a series of studies in which we demonstrated that motor neurons can be generated from mouse embryonic stem cells,” says Dr. Victor Rafuse, associate professor of anatomy & neurobiology. “It’s very exciting that these neurons can be used for transplantation to prevent degeneration of muscle.”

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