MSC’s and depressed rats…

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You may be asking yourself, what do MSC’s have to do with depressed rats?  Well, in the truth is stranger than fiction category this am is a research article showing that mesenchymal stem cells promote hippocampal neurogenesis (make new nerve cells in this region of the brain) and that this is associated with less depressed rats. Now, frankly, not having worked with rats, I don’t know how you measure the depression level of a rat, but there is apparently some sort of rat depression scale that’s used to measure these things.  The most interesting part of this article is that there is a growing body of literature that shows that MSC’s can help make new nerve cells and help protect nerve cells from getting injured.  While treating depression with MSC’s is less interesting to our practice, the concept that MSC’s protect nerves from further injury could have applications in treating diseases where spinal nerves are bombarded with daily trauma or even treating patients who suffer acute neurotruma (brain injury, spinal cord injury, peripheral nerve injury).  The authors of this study postulate that one day MSC’s may even be a novel therapy for severe depression.  As I said, truth is often stranger than fiction…

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