A research team led by Alexander Chubykin of Purdue University, assistant professor of biological sciences at the College of Science, in collaboration with a team led by Gong Chen of Jinan University, China, has discovered a way to use gene therapy to transform glial brain cells. into neurons, restoring visual function and giving hope for the restoration of motor function.
Researchers have figured out how to use gene therapy to restore lost vision after stroke in a mouse model.
The results of the study were published in the journal Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology.
Most strokes happen when an artery in the brain becomes blocked. Blood flow to the nerve tissue stops and these tissues usually die. Due to the location of the major arteries in the brain, many strokes affect motor function. However, some of them affect vision, causing patients to lose their vision or find it impaired or impaired.
Neurons don’t regenerate. The brain can sometimes remap its neural pathways enough to restore some visual function after a stroke, but the process is slow, ineffective, and in some patients it never happens.
Stem cell therapies that can help are based on immune matching and are cumbersome and complex. This new gene therapy, demonstrated in a mouse model, is more effective and promising.
“We directly reprogram local glial cells into neurons. We don’t need to implant new cells, so there is no immunogenic rejection. This process is easier to do than stem cell therapy and less brain damage, ”Chubykin said. …
“We help the brain to heal itself. We see how connections are restored between old neurons and newly reprogrammed neurons. We can observe how vision is restored in mice, ”Chubykin added.
Chubykin’s research is especially important because visual function is easier to measure than motor skills, to accurately measure, using techniques including optical imaging in live mice to track the development and maturation of newly transformed neurons over several weeks.
Improving and understanding this technique can lead to a similar technique for restoring motor function. This study bridges the gap in understanding the underlying interpretation of neurons and organ function.
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