echemi logo
Product
  • Product
  • Supplier
  • Inquiry
    Home > Food News > Nutrition News > Electric Current Helps Stroke Recovery

    Electric Current Helps Stroke Recovery

    • Last Update: 2022-05-27
    • Source: Internet
    • Author: User
    Search more information of high quality chemicals, good prices and reliable suppliers, visit www.echemi.com

    Stanford Medicine researchers have discovered that a brain implant that delivers and electrically stimulates transplanted stem cells and stimulates injured brain tissue after a stroke promotes recovery in mice
    .
    Andrews Ciprian / Shutterstock.
    com

    Worldwide, more than 10 million strokes occur each year, and at least half of them suffer from life-changing disabilities
    .
    However, treatments for stroke are limited, and many patients experience only modest improvements in motor and cognitive function

    .
    The need for better treatments has sparked interest in two therapies in particular: stem cell transplants and electrical current therapy

    .

    Although hundreds of studies in animals -- and a handful in humans -- have shown that transplanting stem cells into the brain can improve stroke outcomes, the challenge is finding the best way to deliver and use these cells
    .
    Another challenge: how to use electrical current to stimulate these cells and the brain

    .

    Now, researchers at Stanford School of Medicine have developed a tool that addresses both of these problems
    .
    It can deliver and electrically stimulate transplanted stem cells and stimulate injured brain tissue

    .
    It also helped researchers identify a protein that promotes brain healing

    .

    The device is a tiny conductive polymer implant 1mm wide and 3mm long, about a quarter the thickness of a credit card
    .
    Conductive polymers are dark organic compounds with the consistency and conductivity of flexible plastics

    .
    Electricity to power the device comes from an external generator attached to an electrical wire

    .
    The polymer's charge and surface interactions hold the stem cells in place

    .

    "Conducting polymers have all the advantages of polymers," said Paul George, MD, assistant professor of neurology and neuroscience
    .
    "You can load cells on them and deliver drugs with them

    .
    It's the perfect platform for implanting cells into the body

    .
    They also conduct electricity in a way similar to semiconductors

    .
    "

    Not only did this conductive polymer system work as intended, it also helped rodents recover faster and better after a stroke
    .

    "We found that if we electrically modulate transplanted human stem cells in a rodent stroke model, we can almost double the therapeutic effect of the stem cells themselves," said George
    .

    The conducting polymer system is described in a paper published March 15 in Nature Communications
    .
    George is the senior author of the paper

    .
    Matine Azadian, a graduate student in George's lab, and postdocs Dr.
    Sruthi Santhanam and Dr.
    Byeongtaek Oh are the first authors

    .

    brain boost

    George's team started by looking at how the body uses electrical signals to generate its own stem cells
    .
    They were interested in how electrical stimulation increases substances that are naturally produced by the brain after an injury, and what role these substances play in the healing process

    .
    They wanted to stimulate the transplanted stem cells with an electrical current to replicate this process as closely as possible

    .

    Once they developed a tool that could do this, the team tested it on mice that had experienced a stroke
    .
    The scientists implanted the conductive polymer system on the surface of the brain, close to the edges of damaged tissue, without harming the brain

    .

    Some mice received stem cell transplants
    .
    For the first three days, the cells were electrically stimulated for one hour a day

    .
    Other rats received transplanted cells, but no electrical stimulation

    .
    Conductive polymer implants were used in the control group, and prosthetic implants were used in the control group

    .

    As expected, animals that received stem cells combined with electrical stimulation experienced earlier and longer-lasting recovery than the other groups
    .

    However, these benefits do not appear to come entirely from stem cells
    .
    With or without electrical stimulation, the cells survived for several weeks, with only a small fraction bound to the surrounding brain tissue

    .
    Scientists believe that electrical stimulation combined with the cue to transplant stem cells acts as a call to action, speeding up the brain's repair process and absorbing the brain's own stem cells from elsewhere in the brain to help heal stroke-damaged tissue

    .

    "We're trying to understand the correct stimulation patterns and how to manipulate the system to see if we can further optimize the body's own repair mechanisms -- how to make the process more efficient," George said
    .

    The role of STC2

    George's team also wants to figure out how nerve regeneration works
    .
    They found that electrical stimulation altered the brain's repair mechanisms and profoundly altered gene expression in stem cells

    .
    They found nearly 600 up-regulated genes and 168 down-regulated genes in the transplanted cells

    .
    Genes that were up-regulated increased their response to extracellular signals, while genes that were down-regulated decreased this response

    .
    One of the most up-regulated genes commands the production of stanniocalcin 2 (STC2), a protein involved in cell growth

    .

    When the scientists used a virus to reduce STC2 levels in the transplanted stem cells, the positive effects of electrical stimulation disappeared and healing stopped
    .
    When they injected the animals directly with STC2, their brains produced more stem cells, leading to better outcomes

    .
    George said research is needed to figure out how and why increasing STC2 causes the brain to produce more stem cells

    .

    The human brain loses some of its elasticity over time
    .
    Although it can still generate new stem cells throughout life, the number decreases with age

    .
    Stroke exacerbates this decline

    .
    Because strokes often affect older adults, devices like conductive polymers could improve the brain's ability to heal at a critical time in the recovery process

    .

    "In our rodent model, the brain got 20 percent better on its own after a stroke," George said
    .
    "Other groups that have used stem cells have achieved recovery rates of 50 to 60 percent

    .
    Our recovery rates are 80 to 90 percent.
    %

    .
    This has important therapeutic considerations for the numerous completed and ongoing clinical stem cell trials, and may be a new avenue to optimize this treatment approach

    .
    "


    This article is an English version of an article which is originally in the Chinese language on echemi.com and is provided for information purposes only. This website makes no representation or warranty of any kind, either expressed or implied, as to the accuracy, completeness ownership or reliability of the article or any translations thereof. If you have any concerns or complaints relating to the article, please send an email, providing a detailed description of the concern or complaint, to service@echemi.com. A staff member will contact you within 5 working days. Once verified, infringing content will be removed immediately.

    Contact Us

    The source of this page with content of products and services is from Internet, which doesn't represent ECHEMI's opinion. If you have any queries, please write to service@echemi.com. It will be replied within 5 days.

    Moreover, if you find any instances of plagiarism from the page, please send email to service@echemi.com with relevant evidence.