[GRG] NewAbs: Need Myelin? Go to UC Davis Next Year

To Members and Friends of the Los Angeles Gerontology
Research Group:Need extra
myelin for your CNS oligodendrocytes?  How about the Schwann Cells
in your PNS?
“Always aim high.  That way you are unlikely to shoot yourself
in the foot.” 🙂 — Steve Coles

Team “Spikes” Stem Cells To
Generate Myelin”

Myelination of
spiking and non-spiking mESC-OPCs. Image: UC RegentsWednesday, August  28, 2013; (R&D) — Stem
cell technology has long offered the hope of regenerating tissue to
repair broken or damaged neural tissue. Findings from a team of
University of California, Davis investigators have brought this dream a
step closer by developing a method to generate functioning glial cells
that produce myelin -­ a fatty, insulating sheath essential to normal
neural conduction.  “Our findings represent an important conceptual
advance in stem-cell research,” said Wenbin Deng, Principal Investigator
of the study and Associate Professor at the UC Davis Department of
Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine. “We have bioengineered the first
generation of myelin-producing cells with superior regenerative
capacity.”The brain
is made up predominantly of two cell types: neurons and glial cells.
Neurons are regarded as responsible for thought and sensation. Glial
cells surround, support and communicate with neurons, helping neurons
process and transmit information using electrical and chemical signals.
One type of glial cell -­ the oligodendrocyte -­ produces a sheath called
myelin that provides support and insulation to neurons. Myelin, which has
been compared to insulation around electrical wires that helps to prevent
short circuits, is essential for normal neural conduction and brain
function; well-recognized conditions involving defective myelin
development or myelin loss include Multiple Sclerosis and
leukodystrophies.In this
study, the UC Davis team first developed a novel protocol to efficiently
induce human Embryonic Stem Cells (hESC’s) to differentiate into
Oligodendroglial Progenitor Cells (OPC’s), early cells that normally
develop into oligodendrocytes. Although this has been successfully done
by other researchers, the UC Davis method results in a purer population
of OPC’s, according to Deng, with fewer other cell types arising from
their technique.They next
compared electrophysiological properties of the derived OPC’s to
naturally occurring OPC’s. They found that unlike natural OPC’s, the
hESC-derived OPC’s lacked sodium ion channels in their cell membranes,
making them unable to generate spikes when electrically stimulated. Using
a technique called viral transduction, they then introduced DNA that
codes for sodium channels into the ESC-derived OPC’s. These OPC’s then
expressed ion channels in their cells and developed the ability to
generate spikes.According
to Deng, this is the first time that scientists have successfully
generated OPC’s with so-called spiking properties. This achievement
allowed them to compare the capabilities of spiking cells to non-spiking
cells.In cell
culture, they found that only spiking OPC’s received electrical input
from neurons, and they showed superior capability to mature into
oligodendrocytes.They also
transplanted spiking and non-spiking OPC’s into the spinal cord and
brains of mice that are genetically unable to produce myelin. Both types
of OPC’s had the capability to mature into oligodendrocytes and produce
myelin, but those from spiking OPC’s produced longer and thicker myelin
sheaths around axons.“We
actually developed ‘super cells’ with an even greater capacity to spike
than natural cells,” Deng said. “This appears to give them an edge for
maturing into oligodendrocytes and producing better myelin.”It is well
known that adult human neural tissue has a poor capacity to regenerate
naturally. Although early cells such as OPC’s are present, they do not
regenerate tissue very effectively when disease or injury
strikes.Deng
believes that replacing glial cells with the enhanced spiking OPC’s to
treat neural injuries and diseases has the potential to be a better
strategy than replacing neurons, which tend to be more problematic to
work with. Providing the proper structure and environment for neurons to
live may be the best approach to regenerate healthy neural tissue. He
also notes that many diverse conditions that have not traditionally been
considered to be myelin-related diseases – including schizophrenia,
epilepsy, and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) – actually are now
recognized to involve defective myelin.

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About Johnny Adams

My full-time commitment is to slow and ultimately reverse age related functional decline to increase healthy years of life. I’ve been active in this area since the 1970s, steadily building skills and accomplishments. I have a good basic understanding of the science of aging, and have many skills that complement those of scientists so they can focus on science to advance our shared mission. Broad experience Top skills: administration, management, information technology (data and programming), communications, writing, marketing, market research and analysis, public speaking, forging ethical win-win outcomes among stakeholders (i.e. high level "selling"). Knowledge in grant writing, fundraising, finance. Like most skilled professionals, I’m best described as a guy who defines an end point, then figures out how to get there. I enjoy the conception, design, execution and successful completion of a grand plan. Executive Director Gerontology Research Group (GRG). Manages Email discussion forum, web site, meetings and oversees supercentenarian (oldest humans, 110+ years) research. CEO / Executive Director Carl I. Bourhenne Medical Research Foundation (Aging Intervention Foundation), an IRS approved 501(c)(3) nonprofit. http://www.AgingIntervention.org Early contributor to Supercentenarian Research Foundation. Co-Founder Geroscience Healthspan Forum. Active contributor to numerous initiatives to increase healthy years of life. Co-authored book on conventional, practical methods available today to slow the processes of aging – nutrition, exercise, behavior modification and motivation, stress reduction, proper supplementation, damage caused by improper programs, risk reduction and others. Fundamental understanding of, and experience in the genomics of longevity (internship analyzing and curating longevity gene papers). Biological and technical includes information technology, software development and computer programming, bioinformatics and protein informatics, online education, training programs, regulatory, clinical trials software, medical devices (CAT scanners and related), hospital electrical equipment testing program. Interpersonal skills – good communication, honest, well liked, works well in teams or alone. Real world experience collaborating in interdisciplinary teams in fast paced organizations. Uses technology to advance our shared mission. Education: MBA 1985 University of Southern California -- Deans List, Albert Quon Community Service Award (for volunteering with the American Longevity Association and helping an elderly lady every other week), George S. May Scholarship, CA State Fellowship. BA psychology, psychobiology emphasis 1983 California State University Fullerton Physiological courses as well as core courses (developmental, abnormal etc). UCLA Psychobiology 1978, one brief but fast moving and fulfilling quarter. Main interest was the electrochemical basis of consciousness. Also seminars at the NeuroPsychiatric Institute. Other: Ongoing conferences, meetings and continuing education. Aging, computer software and information technology. Some molecular biology, biotech, bio and protein informatics, computer aided drug design, clinical medical devices, electronics, HIPAA, fundraising through the Assoc. of Fundraising Professionals. Previous careers include: Marketing Increasing skill set and successes in virtually all phases, with valuable experience in locating people and companies with the greatest need and interest in a product or service, and sitting across the table with decision makers and working out agreements favorable to all. Information Technology: Management, data analysis and programming in commercial and clinical trials systems, and bioinformatics and protein informatics. As IT Director at Newport Beach, CA based technology organization Success Family of Continuing Education Companies, provided online software solutions for insurance and financial professionals in small to Fortune 500 size companies. We were successful with lean team organization (the slower moving competition was unable to create similar software systems). Medical devices: At Omnimedical in Paramount CA developed and managed quality assurance dept. and training depts. for engineers, physicians and technicians. Designed hospital equipment testing program for hospital services division. In my early 20’s I was a musician, and studied psychology and music. Interned with the intention of becoming a music therapist. These experiences helped develop valuable skills used today to advance our shared mission of creating aging solutions.
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