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Tissue involved in brain development may offer new approach to stroke treatment

The same tissue that helps a developing brain form its protective blood-brain barrier may protect the adult brain from the ravages of stroke, researchers say.

The choroid plexus has been relegated as a bystander in the adult brain, says Dr. Cesario V. Borlongan, neuroscientist at the Medical College of Georgia and first author on a study published in the May issue of NeuroReport.

But within the last five years, researchers across the world have been compiling evidence that in response to stroke as well as other brain injury or disease, the tissue may actually stimulate the production of stem cells that could help replace damaged neurons and neurotrophic factors that nourish brain cells, Dr. Borlongan says.

This latest study is the first to show the therapeutic potential of that natural response: when biocompatible microcapsules containing these choroid plexus cells were placed on top of the brains of animal models for stroke, stroke damage was significantly reduced.

"The transplanted choroid plexus may provide a potential new therapy to reduce and repair damage from stroke," Dr. Borlongan says. However, he noted that much work remains to explore the potential, including whether the findings in animal models hold true for humans and the best way to deliver that protection.

"We found that these animals that got transplanted choroid plexus had very small stroke areas," Dr. Borlongan says. "This is the first indication that choroid plexus is important tissue for the formation of new stem cells and/or secretion of trophic factors."

The findings also are being presented at the 11th annual meeting of the American Society for Neural Transplantation and Repair May 6-9 in Clearwater Beach, Fla.

For his studies, Dr. Borlongan used choroid plexus cells taken from a rat or pig and placed inside tiny capsules designed by LCTBioPharma, Inc., in Providence, R.I., a subsidiary of Living Cell Technologies based in New Zealand an
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Contact: Toni Baker
tbaker@mcg.edu
706-721-4421
Medical College of Georgia
6-May-2004


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