Tiny sub-cellular vesicles (exosomes) isolated from adult mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) and administered intranasally can limit the damage to the brain of animal models caused by a seizure disorder called status epilepticus, according to research published online on April 10, 2017 in PNAS. The open-access article is titled “Intranasal MSC-Derived A1-Exosomes Ease Inflammation, and Prevent Abnormal Neurogenesis and Memory Dysfunction After Status Epilepticus.” Status epilepticus is the formal name for a single seizure lasting longer than 30 minutes or a series of seizures in which the person does not regain consciousness in between them. If it is not quickly stopped, even one episode can cause brain damage, loss of cognitive function, and memory loss. “Saving the brain from injury and disease is certainly one of the holy grails of medicine,” said Darwin J. Prockop, M.D., Ph.D., the Stearman Chair in Genomic Medicine, Professor at the Texas A&M College of Medicine, and co-senior author of the article. “Our paper suggests one way that this might be done, and not by a procedure that requires brain surgery or even injection into a vein: All that would be required is a nasal spray that a patient might receive in a doctor’s office.” The material in the nasal spray is anti-inflammatory exosomes, which Dr. Prockop and his team isolated from cultures of mesenchymal stem cells, a type of adult stem cell. Ashok K. Shetty, Ph.D., a Professor in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Medicine at the Texas A&M College of Medicine, Associate Director of the Institute for Regenerative Medicine, research career scientist at the Olin E. Teague Veterans Medical Center, and co-senior author of the paper, and his team tested the efficiency of these exosomes in a status epilepticus model with damage from a period of acute seizures.
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