Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Stem Cells Therapy
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is one of the most common causes of dementia.
Despite several decades of serious research in AD there is no standard disease modifying therapy available. Stem cells hold immense potential to regenerate tissue systems and are studied in a number of brain-related disorders.
For various untreatable neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and Parkinson’s disease (PD) (current-approved drugs provide only symptomatic relief), stem cell therapy holds a great promise and provides a great research opportunity.
Here we review several stem cell transplantation studies with reference to both preclinical and clinical approaches. We focus on different sources of stem cells in a number of animal models and on molecular mechanisms involved in possible treatment of neurodegenerative disorders. The clinical studies reviewed suggest safety efficacy and translational potential of stem cell therapy.
The therapeutic outcome of stem cell transplantation has been promising in many studies but no unifying hypothesis exists for an underlying mechanism. Some studies reported paracrine effects exerted by these cells via release of neurotrophic factors, while other studies reported immunomodulatory effects by transplanted cells.
There are also reports supporting stem cell transplantation causing endogenous cell proliferation or replacement of diseased cells at the site of degeneration. In animal models of AD, stem cell transplantation is also believed to increase expression of synaptic proteins. A number of stem cell transplantation studies point out great potential for this novel approach in preventing or halting several neurodegenerative diseases.
The current challenge is to clearly define the molecular mechanism by which stem cells operate and the extent of actual contribution by the exogenous and/or endogenous cells in the rescue of disease.
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