Researchers in Japan successfully used dental pulp stem cells [DPSCs] in animal models to stimulate peripheral neural regrowth and ameliorate neural losses associated with autologous nerve grafts, which can lead to diminished function and decreased sensation. The dental pulp stem cells demonstrated regeneration of more myelinated axons than in the control group, which received autologous nerve grafts or collagen.
Scientists led by Mathias Hoehn at the Max Planck Institute for Metabolic Research have devised a novel method for documenting the process by which human stem cells transplanted into the cerebral cortex of an animal model develop into mature nerve cells. The researchers inserted optical image reporters into the cells to emit different shades of light when certain genes were activated. By observing the sequence in which the light was emitted, the group determined the timeline of the stem cell’s transformation in vivo.