henry-fordA new animal study conducted by Henry Ford Hospital researchers suggests that specific microRNA packaged in exosomes and released by stem cells following stroke may improve neurological recovery.

The study, which appears in the journal Stem Cells, offers insight into how stem cells impact injured tissues and also holds promise for developing novel treatments for stroke and other neurological diseases, according to a recent news release.

Researchers reportedly isolated stem cells (MSCs) from the bone marrow of lab rats. The MSCs were then genetically altered to release exosomes that contained specific microRNA molecules. The MSCs then produced exosomes containing specific microRNAs.

The researchers note that they genetically raised or lowered the amount of miR-133b in MSCs and treated the rats. The MSCs were then injected into the bloodstream 24 hours following stroke. Once the exosomes were enriched with the miR-133b, they reportedly enhanced neurological recovery. When the exosomes were deprived of the miR-133b, neurological recovery was substantially reduced, researchers say.

To measure neurological recovery, the release notes that the rats received two types of behavioral tests to measure the normal function of the front legs and paws and an “adhesive removal test” to measure the length of time it took the animals to remove a piece of tape stuck to the front paws.

Disabled rats were then separated into several groups and injected with a specific dosage of saline, MSCs and MSCs with increased or deceased miR-133b, respectively. The data suggests that the enriched miR-133b exosome package significantly enhanced neurological recovery and axonal plasticity. The researchers state that the diminished miR-133b exosome package failed to enhance neurological recovery.

The study’s findings may hold implications for new approaches to regaining neurological function and improved quality of life, the researchers add.

Source: Henry Ford Health System