Volume 5.07 | Feb 23

     In this issue: Science News | Current Publications | Industry News | Policy News | Events

Tracking Neural Stem Cells
Magnetic nanoparticles could be used to track neural stem cells after a transplant in order to monitor how the cells heal spinal injuries,
say UCL scientsts. [University College London Press Release]



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UC San Diego Biologists Gain New Insights into Brain Circuit Wiring
Neurobiologists at UC San Diego have discovered new ways by which nerves are guided to grow in highly directed ways to wire the brain during
embryonic development. [Press release from the University of California, San Diego discussing online prepublication in Developmental Cell]

LA BioMed Study Finds Increasing Brain Enzyme Can Slow Damaging Accumulation of Tau Protein in Alzheimer’s Disease
Increasing puromycin-sensitive aminopeptidase, the most abundant brain peptidase in mammals, slowed the damaging accumulation of tau proteins that are toxic to nerve cells and eventually lead to the neurofibrillary tangles, a major pathological hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, according to a study. [Press release from the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute discussing online prepublication
in Human Molecular Genetics]

Brain Function Linked to Birth Size in Groundbreaking New Study
Scientists have discovered the first evidence linking brain function variations between the left and right sides of the brain to size at birth and the weight of the placenta. The finding could shed new light on the causes of mental health problems in later life. [Press release
from the University of Southampton discussing online prepublication in PLoS ONE]

Scientists Discover a Tangle of Neurons that Control Aggression
In a tiny region buried deep in the brain, neurons that control two disparate behaviours – aggression and mating – are closely intertwined, researchers have revealed.  The study, conducted in mice, suggests that the association between these two classes of neurons may help to suppress aggressive behaviors during mating. [Press release from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute discussing online prepublication in

Rare Gene Glitch May Hold Clues for Schizophrenia – NIH-Funded Study
Scientists are eyeing a rare genetic glitch for clues to improved treatments for some people with schizophrenia — even though they found the mutation in only one third of 1 percent of patients. [Press release from the National Institutes of Health discussing online prepublication in Nature]


CURRENT PUBLICATIONS (Ranked by Impact Factor of the Journal)

Intrinsic Transition of Embryonic Stem Cell Differentiation into Neural Progenitors
Researchers show that the zinc-finger nuclear protein Zfp521 is essential and sufficient for driving the intrinsic neural differentiation of mouse embryonic stem cells. [Nature]

Tbx6-Dependent Sox2 Regulation Determines Neural or Mesodermal Fate in Axial Stem Cells
Here researchers demonstrate that Tbx6-dependent regulation of Sox2 determines the fate of axial stem cells. [Nature]

Functional Identification of an Aggression Locus in the Mouse Hypothalamus
Here researchers show that optogenetic, but not electrical, stimulation of neurons in the ventromedial hypothalamus, ventrolateral subdivision causes male mice to attack both females and inanimate objects, as well as males. [Nature]

Duplications of the Neuropeptide Receptor Gene VIPR2 Confer Significant Risk for Schizophrenia
Here researchers performed a large two-stage genome-wide scan of rare copy number variants and report the significant association of copy number gains at chromosome 7q36.3 with schizophrenia. [Nature]

UBE4B Promotes Hdm2-Mediated Degradation of the Tumor Suppressor p53
Data indicate that amplification and overexpression of UBE4B represent previously undescribed molecular mechanisms of inactivation of p53 in brain tumors. [Nat Med]

Vangl2 Promotes Wnt/Planar Cell Polarity-like Signaling by Antagonizing Dvl1-Mediated Feedback Inhibition in Growth Cone Guidance
Although a growing body of evidence supports that Wnt-Frizzled signaling controls axon guidance from vertebrates to worms, whether and how this is mediated by planar cell polarity (PCP) signaling remain elusive. Researchers show here that the core PCP components are required for Wnt5a-stimulated outgrowth and anterior-posterior guidance of commissural axons. [Dev Cell]

Serotonin Mediates Cross-Modal Reorganization of Cortical Circuits
Here, researchers show that visual deprivation increases extracellular serotonin in the juvenile rat barrel cortex. [Neuron]

Puromycin-Sensitive Aminopeptidase (PSA/NPEPPS) Impedes Development of Neuropathology in hPSA/TAU(P301L) Double Transgenic Mice
PSA/NPEPPS is a novel modifier of TAU-induced neurodegeneration with neuroprotective effects via direct proteolysis of TAU protein. Here, to examine the effects of PSA over-expression in vivo in the mammalian system, researchers generated and crossed BAC-PSA/NPEPPS transgenic mice with TAUP301L mouse model of neurodegeneration. [Hum Mol Genet]

The Performance of Laminin-Containing Cryogel Scaffolds in Neural Tissue Regeneration

Here researchers describe neurogenic properties of bioactive scaffolds generated by cryogelation of dextran or gelatin linked to laminin – the main component of brain extracellular matrix. [Biomaterials]

Evidence for Developmental Programming of Cerebral Laterality in Humans
As asymmetry of cerebral activity, with greater right hemisphere activity, has been associated with psychopathology, researchers hypothesized that regional specialization during fetal life might be reflected persistently in the relative activity of the cerebral hemispheres. [PLoS ONE]

Differentiated Mesenchymal Stem Cells for Sciatic Nerve Injury
Researchers have been successful in converting bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells into astrocyte-like cells that produce and secrete NTFs (NTF+ cells). In the current study, researchers examined whether NTF+ cells are capable of rescuing motor neurons in a rat sciatic nerve injury model, where the right hind limb sciatic nerve was crushed. [Stem Cells Dev]


StemCells, Inc. Completes Dosing in Second Trial of HuCNS-SC(R) Neural Stem Cells
StemCells, Inc. announced that the fourth and final patient in its Phase I clinical trial in Pelizaeus-Merzbacher Disease (PMD) has been transplanted with the Company’s HuCNS-SC(R) cells (purified human neural stem cells). [StemCells, Inc. Press Release]

Vote Now for Your Favorite 2011 Neuro Film Festival Video
The video entries for the 2011 Neuro Film FestivalSM are in and the public can now begin voting on its “Fan Favorite” video through March 8, 2011. Neuro Film Festival is a contest hosted by the American Academy of Neurology Foundation to help raise awareness through video about brain disorders and the need to support research into preventions, treatments and cures. [American Academy of Neurology Press Release]

Fipamezole Transition from Biovail Completed – Program Well Advanced Towards Phase III
Santhera Pharmaceuticals announced that the transition of the fipamezole program back from Biovail was successfully completed. Fipamezole is being developed as a potential first treatment of Dyskinesia in Parkinson’s Disease. [Santhera Pharmaceuticals Press Release]

Former Capital One Director and Business Leader Stanley I. Westreich Joins Neuralstem’s Board
Neuralstem, Inc. announces the appointment of business leader Stanley I. Westreich to its Board of Directors. With his appointment the company’s board is now comprised of a majority of independent directors. [Neuralstem, Inc. Press Release]

Three Researchers Awarded $100,000 Potamkin Prize from AAN
The American Academy of Neurology (AAN) is awarding its 2011 Potamkin Prize to three researchers for their work in dementia. Dennis Dickson, MD, with the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida, Eva Maria Mandelkow, MD, PhD, and Eckhard Mandelkow, PhD, both of the Max-Planck-Unit for Structural Molecular Biology in Hamburg, Germany, will receive the Award during the AAN’s 63rd Annual Meeting in Hawaii, April 9 – 16, 2011. [American Academy of Neurology Press Release]

Society for Neuroscience Awarded $1.53 Million to Create Brainfacts.org
The Society for Neuroscience (SfN) has been awarded $1.53 million in funding over six years to create and maintain BrainFacts.org, a unique nonprofit online source for authoritative public information about the progress and promise of brain research. [Society for Neuroscience Press Release]

Elan and PPD Announce Global Business Relationship in Drug Development
Elan, plc and PPD, Inc. announced they have formed a global business collaboration focused on the advancement, progression and execution of Elan’s development portfolio. [Elan, plc Press Release]


National Institutes of Health (United States)

Food and Drug Administration (United States)

Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (United States)

European Medicines Agency (European Union)

Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (United Kingdom)

Therapeutic Goods Administration (Australia)


NEW Cell Symposia: Metabolism and Aging
March 27-29, 2011
Cape Cod, United States

Visit our events page to see a complete list of events in the neural cell community.


Lab Technologist – Human Embryonic and Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (STEMCELL Technologies)

Assistant Professor (University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Center for Cellular and Molecular Engineering)

PhD Position – Interaction of Nanoparticles with Neural Stem- and Tissue-type Cells (Inst. of Experimental Medicine of Hungarian Acad. Sci. /NanoToes International Training Network)

Stem Cell Biology Scientist (Stanford University)

Tenure Track Faculty Positions in Neuroscience (Mount Sinai School of Medicine)

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Chair in Stem Cell Neurobiology (Cardiff University)

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