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Kmeňové bunky v liečbe Parkinsonovej choroby

Morbus Parkinson, one disease with many faces, is coming into the light of knowledge thanks to science and is losing its "mask". Parkinson's disease (PD) is a progressive disorder of the nervous system, caused by the degeneration and subsequent death of the nerve cells responsible for the secretion of the neurotransmitter dopamine. Since dopamine functions as a transmitter of impulses between individual neurons, its abnormal level results in several unpleasant symptoms accompanying PD. These symptoms can include tremors, rigidity (muscle stiffness), clumsy walking and also some psychiatric symptoms that can occur as associated diseases - dementia, anxiety and depression.


Stem cells have long appeared to be a promising therapy for many diseases. The human body consists of more than 200 different somatic, differentiated cells. These cells are specialized to perform their function as part of a single organ system, for example: lung epithelial cells, skin cells, white blood cells, and the like. Stem cells have one very different property from these body cells, namely that they can change into almost any other type of cell (embryonic stem cells - into any tissue/stem cells - limited differentiation). Since PD is a neurodegenerative disorder, there is a decrease in the number of these specialized cells in the brain. Thus, stem cell implantation can increase the concentration of dopamine-secreting neurons and thereby positively affect some PD symptoms.


The use of stem cells is becoming a hope for future PD patients. Recently publishedstudyfrom the professorShi Qing Zhangwith the team revealed promising results, indicating the possibility of using stem cells for therapeutic purposes for patients suffering from PD. For the purposes of their study, they chose NSC (Neural Stem Cells), which they differentiated into Substantia Nigra (SN) cells using a special medium. The substantia nigra is the part of the brain responsible for movement and reward - dopamine is also secreted by these cells. These cells were subsequently implanted into rats showing symptoms of Parkinson's disease (Rat Model of 6-OHDA-Lesioned PD). Subsequently, they performed an apomorphine rotation test. It is a behavioral test in which a lesion of the striatum can be detected (to evaluate the individual's motor skills), which is specific to PD. A comparison of the control and treated groups showed the effectiveness of the transplantation of these stem cells. During repeated testing, an improvement in the motor skills of the mice was visible 16 weeks after the transplantation.


Growth factor - one of the obstacles in treatment using stem cells is slowly being overcome. Many times it was necessary to use growth factor (GF) during the differentiation of stem cells. This molecule is responsible for cell proliferation, and exposure to this substance in excessive amounts can cause cancer cells to multiply. However, Professor Zhang's team was able to effectively differentiate cells even without the use of GF. He created a specific matrix using SiO2, which acts as a signal for stem cells to differentiate into the desired dopamine-secreting neurons.

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Matúš Mlynár 

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