Cellular Conversion Turns Brain into Blood

By Travis, John | Science News, January 23, 1999 | Go to article overview

Cellular Conversion Turns Brain into Blood


Travis, John, Science News


Talk about a career change. The unspecialized cells that normally give rise to the various cell types in the brain can also act as bone marrow, the crucial source of an adult body's blood cells.

Scientists discovered this remarkable ability when they injected these so-called neural stem cells into the blood of mice whose own bone marrow had been almost completely destroyed by irradiation. The neural stem cells, whose progeny were identifiable by means of a genetic marker previously slipped into them, engrafted as normal bone marrow transplants do and began producing blood cells.

"We really had a hard time convincing ourselves of our own data," notes Angelo L. Vescovi of the National Neurological Institute in Milan, Italy. He, Christopher R.R. Bjornson of the University of Washington in Seattle, and their colleagues describe the neural stem cell transplants in the Jan. 22 SCIENCE.

The experiments suggest that a cell's lot in life, usually determined during the growth of an embryo, isn't as hard and fast as once thought. "Even when a cell seems to have committed to a particular organ, there are still some cells that can switch that fundamental identity. That's an intriguing biological concept," says Evan Y. Snyder of Children's Hospital in Boston, who has isolated human neural stems cells (SN: 11/7/98, p. 293).

Until recently, scientists assumed that most adult cells had made irreversible commitments to a particular fate, becoming heart cells or liver cells, for example. The cloning of Dolly the sheep and other animals from various adult cells challenged that dogma, however. Still, those experiments involved removing the genes of an adult cell and placing them into an egg, a transfer that somehow reverted the genes to their embryonic state (SN: 4/5/97, p. 214). In the new experiments, the researchers have shown that they can directly change the role of some adult cells simply by placing them in a new environment.

Vescovi notes that his unusual experiment was prompted in part by reports of brain tumors that contained muscle cells in addition to brain cells. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • A full archive of books and articles related to this one
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Cellular Conversion Turns Brain into Blood
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.