Scientists testing the treatment on brain-injured rats grafted neural stem cells from the brain's subventricular zone into the hippocampus in one group of animals but not another. Mood, memory and mobility significantly improved in the rats that received the stem cells.
"Our procedure brought back key functions in the part of the brain that regulates emotional outlook, learning, memory and spatial navigation," said Ashok Shetty, director of neurosciences at the Texas A&M institute, senior investigator who helped lead the study.
"We also learned that the neural stem cells we grafted into the brain's hippocampus had the ability to survive, migrate, differentiate and thrive where there had been neural loss before."
The rats received the stem cells five days after they were injured and were evaluated six weeks after the graft took place.