In a new study, Yale researchers report the healing effects of stem cells in spinal cord injury can be aided by their ability to hitch intercellular rides to specific anti-inflammatory cells called M2 macrophages.
Yale University researchers had previously shown that mesenchymal stem cells harvested from bone marrow helped repair spinal cord injury in rats; however, many of the cells did not reach their target injury site.
The study by the Yale team, headed by neuroscientists Jeffery Kocsis and Karen Lankford, shows how properties from stem cells can be carried to the macrophages by intercellular cargo vesicles called exosomes. There, the stem cell-derived exosomes may aid macrophages to repair ruptures in the blood-brain barrier that can wreak havoc with the central nervous system.
The report appears January 5 in the journal PLOS ONE.