Mesenchymal stem cells to treat diabetic neuropathy: a long and strenuous way from bench to the clinic

This study discusses how diabetic neuropathy (DN) frequently leads to foot ulcers and ultimately limb amputations without effective clinical therapy. DN is characterized by reduced vascularity in the peripheral nerves and deficiency in angiogenic and neurotrophic factors. Only delivering neurotrophic or angiogenic factors for treatment in the form of protein or gene therapy is very modest if not ineffective.

Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have been highlighted as a new emerging regenerative therapy owing to their multipotency for DN.  MSCs reverse manifestations of DN, repair tissue, and antihyperglycemia. MSCs also paracrinely secrete neurotrophic factors, angiogenic factors, cytokines, and immunomodulatory substances to ameliorate DN.

Challenges in the clinical translation of MSC therapy include safety, optimal dose of administration, optimal mode of cell delivery, issues of MSC heterogeneity, clinically meaningful engraftment, autologous or allogeneic approach, challenges with cell manufacture, and further mechanisms.

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Stem Cell Technology for Neurodegenerative Diseases

Over the past 20 years, stem cell technologies have become an increasingly attractive option to investigate and treat neurodegenerative diseases.  This study explains the various types of stem cells utilized in neurodegenerative disease research and details the current progress regarding the applications of stem cell therapies to specific neurodegenerative diseases, focusing on Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and spinal muscular atrophy.  As this study mentions, there is growing public hope that stem cell therapies will continue to progress into realistic and efficacious treatments for neurodegenerative diseases.

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Perspectives of employing mesenchymal stem cells from the Wharton’s jelly of the umbilical cord for peripheral nerve repair

Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) from Wharton’s jelly present high plasticity and low immunogenicity, making them a desirable form of cell therapy for an injured nervous system. Their isolation, expansion, and characterization have been performed from cryopreserved umbilical cord tissue. The MSCs from Wharton’s jelly delivered through tested biomaterials should be regarded a potentially valuable tool to improve clinical outcome especially after trauma to sensory nerves. In addition, these cells represent a noncontroversial source of primitive mesenchymal progenitor cells, which can be harvested after a healthy birth, cryogenically stored, thawed, and expanded for therapeutic uses.

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Human umbilical cord Wharton’s Jelly-derived mesenchymal stem cells differentiation into nerve-like cells

Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), isolated from human umbilical cord Wharton’s Jelly, were capable of differentiating into nerve-like cells using Salvia miltiorrhiza or beta-mercaptoethanol. The induced MSCs not only underwent morphologic changes, but also expressed the neuron-related genes and neuronal cell markers. They may represent an alternative source of stem cells for central nervous system cell transplantation.

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Enhanced neuro-therapeutic potential of Wharton’s Jelly-derived mesenchymal stem cells in comparison with bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells culture

In this study, they have examined stromal stem cells derived either from umbilical cord Wharton’s Jelly (WJ-MSC) or bone marrow (BM-MSC) of adult, healthy donors.  WJ-MSC, in comparison with BM-MSC, exhibited a higher proliferation rate, a greater expansion capability being additionally stimulated under low-oxygen atmosphere, enhanced neurotrophic factors gene expression and spontaneous tendency toward a neural lineage differentiation commitment confirmed by protein and gene marker induction. The data suggest that WJ-MSC may represent an example of immature-type “pre-MSC,” where a substantial cellular component is embryonic-like, pluripotent derivatives with the default neural-like differentiation.

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