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Tech & Science : brain: Alzheimer, epilepsy ... Can we regenerate lost neurons?

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Cerveau : Alzheimer, épilepsie... Peut-on régénérer les neurones perdus ? © iStock brain: Alzheimer, epilepsy ... Can we regenerate lost neurons?

According to a recent study, scientists have found a way to regenerate neurons lost by the brain because of epilepsy. A cell reprogramming technique that paves the way for therapeutic perspectives for other neurological diseases such as Alzheimer or Parkinson.

This is a new hope for all patients with neurodegenerative diseases. According to a new study published in the Cell Stem Cell journal on September 29, researchers managed to "transform non-neuronal cells present in the brain into new inhibitory neurons which make it possible to halve the chronic epileptic activity". This is explained by the Inserm Communiqué, whose researchers have worked on the study alongside CNRS researchers, Claude Bernard Lyon 1 at the Institute Cell Straße and Brain and in collaboration with The King's College of London. Starting from the observation that the brain was devoid of regenerative capacities for to replace damaged or lost neurons , they used the technique of direct cell reprogramming in order to "reprogram" the identity of certain non-neuronal cells present within the very non-neuronal cells. sick brain to turn them into neurons. Result, they have reached transforming glial cells from the brain into new neurons in mice suffering from mesio-temporal epilepsy, the most frequent pharmaco-resistant epilepsy form in humans.

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reprogram the glial cells to make neurons

in practice, the researchers left the observation only during neuronal death, as observed in the case of the mesio-temporal epilepsy, "the glial cells present in the direct environment Damaged neurons react by multiplying without this glial response resolves the problem ". As part of the study, the researchers had the idea of ​​taking advantage of this proliferation and use these supernumerary glial cells.

The Inserm specifies that at first, they have "identified genes for transforming these glial cells into inhibitory neurons", whose loss plays a key role in the occurrence of epileptic seizures, in order to " restore balance neuronal activities that has been impacted ". The researchers have thus chosen genes known to be involved in the genesis of these inhibitory neurons during the development and then, by "forcing the expression of these genes, they were able to reprogram the identity of the glial cells to make neurons, so-called 'induced neurons, whose properties are comparable to those missing in the disease. Twice Twice Crises Epileptics In Mice

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The researchers then used stereotaxic surgery to directly insert the genes into the mouse brain at the epileptic focus using disabled viral vectors inducing the reprogramming of glial cells. Result, "

in a few weeks, the vast majority of these glial cells received the genes had turned into new neurons." These new neurons created had " molecular characteristics similar to those of the neurons that had been lost because of the disease". They thus inhibited the neighboring neurons that were responsible for epileptic seizures. The mice saw their epileptic episodes divided by two.

This is an

new therapeutic track to fight against epilepsy. "These results thus reveal the therapeutic potential of this cell reprogramming strategy to combat pathology such as measio-temporal epilepsy. A boon in the precise case of this disease while 30% of patients who are reached are refractory Pharmacological treatments, "explains Christophe Heinrich, the main author of the study. Cellular reprogramming useful for other diseases?

This work makes it possible to consider therapeutic perspectives in humans on this technique against mesio-temporal epilepsy, but also against other neurological diseases such as Alzheimer or Parkinson.

Regenerate the neurons destroyed following strokes, in some forms of epilepsies or in Parkinson's disease would also become possible.

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