Stem cells can become neurons within the stroke-injured brain – making them potential big players in recovery
Dr. Diane Lagace, Dr. Jean-Claude Béïque and their team from the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine and the uOttawa Brain and Mind Research Institute, including first author and postdoctoral fellow Dr. Timal Kannangara, are bringing new hope for stroke recovery.
The team’s work published in Stem Cell Reports shows that stem cells in the adult brain can migrate to the site of stroke damage and become neurons. Although limited in number, these new cells can fire action potentials and are functionally connected with surrounding networks, all defining features of fully functioning neurons.
These findings therefore ignite excitement about the capacity of stem cells to improve stroke recovery and outline new and compelling directions for stroke research—namely, how to increase the number of these immature neurons and maximize their incorporation into brain networks. Achieving these goals could make these cells big players in stroke recovery.