Developmental and Stem Cell Biology in Health and Disease

Research into stem cells started in the 1960s with experiments on spleen cultures. Evans and Kaufman made a breakthrough in mouse embryo culturing and embryonic stem cell extraction in 1981, followed ...
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Stem Cells and Neurodegenerative Diseases

Pp. 166-192 (27)

Hanaa H. Ahmed, Hadeer A. Aglan and Ahmed A. Abd-Rabou

Abstract

Neurodegenerative diseases are a major concern of our present time and which underpin the ageing era that invades the world. The Neurodegenerative diseases are caused by certain neuronal loss in specific regions of the brain. Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and Parkinson’s disease (PD) are some of the examples of the neurodegenerative diseases that have no fundamental cure available. Some drug treatments can alleviate the symptoms associated with the neurodegenerative diseases. However, they do not tackle the main pathological factors and cannot be clinically suitable for all patients. Moreover, they are not affordable by all patients as a long term medicine. Therefore, developing new and effective medications for AD and PD is deemed necessary. Recent research has aimed at developing therapies that modify the disease. These therapies perform their actions by interacting with the pathophysiologic cascade in order to postpone the disease onset or prevents the progression from occurring on a fast pace. Embryonic and Adult stem cells have demonstrated high therapeutic potential for tissue regeneration. As well, cell replacement therapy would introduce cure for these neurological disorders. Treatment of neurodegenerative diseases using stem cell transplantation has attracted a great deal of attention lately. This is owing to the fact that stem cells are readily available, can be easily expanded in culture, and can have sustainability when transplanted for relatively long periods of time. Moreover, the growth factors and cytokines released by stem cells facilitate neo-vascularization of damaged tissue leading to neurogenesis, as well as affording anti-inflammatory, antiapoptotic, and anti-oxidative effects among other reparative responses. From this point of view, stem cell therapy will provide a powerful and effective cure for most of neurodeteriorative diseases in the near future.

Keywords:

Alzheimer’s disease, Neurodegenerative diseases, Parkinson’s disease, Stem cells.

Affiliation:

Medical Research Division, National Research Center, 12622, Cairo, Egypt.