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Stem cells help brain repair, make new neurons and blood vessels after stroke

, and the researchers are looking at specific molecules up-regulated in inflammation that they suspect are also involved in homing. Certain factors released and expressed on the surface of damaged endothelial cells may act as flags to wave down passing white blood cells or stem cells to attach there, Dr. Hill said.

Also key is identifying which specific stem cells are summoned and are needed to make new blood vessels, support cells and neurons. This may permit selective recruitment and proliferation of just the cells needed for repair, Dr. Hill said.

There are two known broad classes of these cells, hematopoetic and mesenchymal, but there may be many unknown cell types, including a separate group involved in making endothelial cells, Dr. Hess said.

Just last week, through a collaborative study with the Medical University of South Carolina, they received the first mouse that, through a process called clonal analysis, will enable them to tag a single cell, then watch for its descendents roles in the normal repair process.

They also are collaborating with fellow MCG researcher Nevin Lambert to do a functional analysis of the new neurons produced by the stem cells to ensure that they not only look like but function as neurons.


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Contact: Toni Baker
tbaker@mail.mcg.edu
706-721-4421
Medical College of Georgia
2-May-2002


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