Researchers generate a brain cell type crucial to support neural activity

November 12, 2020

The loss of oligodendrocytes (OLs) -highly specialized cells of the brain that produce myelin, an essential structure enabling an efficient transmission of electrical signals and the support of neural activity- is a frequent condition in patients suffering neurodegenerative diseases.

Researchers of the Department of Cellular Biology, Genetics and Physiology of the University of Malaga (UMA) have succeeded in generating human OLs from pluripotent stem cells derived from patients with nervous system diseases, specifically multiple sclerosis or ALS.

This is a new method that is faster and more efficient, because it enables the generation of OLs in just three weeks. This find is highlighted on the November cover of the scientific journal Nature Protocols.

"So far, no one has developed any treatment that reverts the loss of myelin and OLs in these patients, probably because there hasn't been an appropriate platform available to study these phenomena", says the researcher of the UMA Juan Antonio García-León, main author of this study.

According to this expert, the generated cells are equivalent of the OLs of a human brain, and they produced myelin around neurons when transplanted in the brain of an animal model.

Efficient drugs

García-León explains that these cells could be used to advance in searching efficient treatments that favor myelination. In fact, as he asserts, a biotechnology company already uses this new method to develop an efficient drug to revert myelin loss involved in multiple sclerosis, something crucial to counteract its symptoms and pathologies.

Neurological diseases

Although the studies on the alteration of OLs and myelin in patients with neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's disease or schizophrenia are still limited, some recent studies argue its fundamental role in these conditions.

The UMA is working in collaboration with other national and international R&D&I groups on the application of this new technology in those diseases in which its exact involvement is unknown.

This study has been conducted by the R&D&I group of the UMA "NeuroAD" -member of the Biomedical Research Institute of Malaga (IBIMA) and the Network Center for Biomedical Research in Neurodegenerative Diseases (CIBERNED)- led by Professor Antonia Gutiérrez. The researchers of the UMA José Carlos Dávila and Laura Cáceres have also participated in the study. Likewise, this research has been developed in collaboration with the KU Leuven University (Belgium) and the Sorbonne University (Paris).

University of Malaga

Related Multiple Sclerosis Articles from Brightsurf:

New therapy improves treatment for multiple sclerosis
A new therapy that binds a cytokine to a blood protein shows potential in treating multiple sclerosis, and may even prevent it.

'Reelin' in a new treatment for multiple sclerosis
In an animal model of multiple sclerosis (MS), decreasing the amount of a protein made in the liver significantly protected against development of the disease's characteristic symptoms and promoted recovery in symptomatic animals, UTSW scientists report.

Not all multiple sclerosis-like diseases are alike
Scientists say some myelin-damaging disorders have a distinctive pathology that groups them into a unique disease entity.

New therapeutic options for multiple sclerosis in sight
Strategies for treating multiple sclerosis have so far focused primarily on T and B cells.

Diet has an impact on the multiple sclerosis disease course
The short-chain fatty acid propionic acid influences the intestine-mediated immune regulation in people with multiple sclerosis (MS).

The gut may be involved in the development of multiple sclerosis
It is incompletely understood which factors in patients with multiple sclerosis act as a trigger for the immune system to attack the brain and spinal cord.

Slowing the progression of multiple sclerosis
Over 77,000 Canadians are living with multiple sclerosis, a disease whose causes still remain unknown.

7T MRI offers new insights into multiple sclerosis
Investigators from Brigham and Women's Hospital have completed a new study using 7 Tesla (7T) MRI -- a far more powerful imaging technology -- to further examine LME in MS patients

How to improve multiple sclerosis therapy
Medications currently used to treat multiple sclerosis (MS) can merely reduce relapses during the initial relapsing-remitting phase.

Vaccinations not a risk factor for multiple sclerosis
Data from over 12,000 multiple sclerosis (MS) patients formed the basis of a study by the Technical University of Munich (TUM) which investigated the population's vaccination behavior in relation to MS.

Read More: Multiple Sclerosis News and Multiple Sclerosis Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to