It looks like researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison may have accomplished an important feat: creating cells similar to those that make up the wall between the brain and blood.
The Journal-Sentinel of Milwaukee reported on the scientific work Monday, in a story with the headline “Gatekeepers of the brain: UW scientists learn more about the blood-brain barrier.”
The story explained that the blood-brain protective barrier is important, but vulnerable. The barrier “keeps blood that circulates through the body from the fluid that bathes the brain,” according to The Journal-Sentinel. This wall acts as a control, permitting important nutrients to pass through and nurture the brain, but keeping out dangers such as viruses and bacteria. But this barrier wall can be broken by things such as strokes, multiple sclerosis and other diseases, the Milwaukee paper reported.
University of Milwaukee scientists, in a study published in Nature Biotechnology, were able to make “both embryonic stem cells and their reprogrammed equivalents into the endothelial cells that form the blood-brain barrier,” according to The Journal-Sentinel.
This breakthrough work could lead to these cells being reproduced in quantity, to be used to test drugs to repair or keep safe the blood-brain barrier.