Washington: A new research has revealed that healthy brain cells, once damaged by radiation designed to kill brain tumours, can be regenerated.
Alfredo Quinones-Hinojosa, M.D., a professor of neurosurgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, who conducted the study in mice, found that neural stem cells, the body`s source of new brain cells, are resistant to radiation, and can be roused from a hibernation-like state to reproduce and generate new cells able to migrate, replace injured cells and potentially restore lost function.
The findings, Quinones-Hinojosa adds, may have implications not only for brain cancer patients, but also for people with progressive neurological diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS) and Parkinson`s disease (PD), in which cognitive functions worsen as the brain suffers permanent damage over time.
The researchers examined the impact of radiation on mouse neural stem cells by testing the rodents` responses to a subsequent brain injury.
In the weeks after radiation, the researchers injected the mice with lysolecithin, a substance that caused brain damage by inducing a demyelinating brain lesion, much like that present in MS.
They found that neural stem cells within the irradiated sub-ventricular zone of the brain generated new cells, which rushed to the damaged site to rescue newly injured cells. A month later, the new cells had incorporated into the demyelinated area where new myelin, the protein insulation that protects nerves, was being produced.
The study is published in the journal Stem Cells.