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J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 1999 Dec;19(12):1329-35.

Transplantation of fetal kidney tissue reduces cerebral infarction induced by middle cerebral artery ligation.

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  • 1Department of Neurosurgery, Tri-Service General Hospital National Defense Medical Center, Taipei, Taiwan.


The authors, and others, have recently reported that intracerebral administration of glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) or osteogenic protein-1 protects against ischemia-induced injury in the cerebral cortex of adult rats. Because these trophic factors are highly expressed in the fetal, but not adult, kidney cortex, the possibility that transplantation of fetal kidney tissue could serve as a cellular reservoir for such molecules and protect against ischemic injury in cerebral cortex was examined. Fetal kidneys obtained from rat embryos at gestational day 16, and adult kidney cortex, were dissected and cut into small pieces. Adult male Sprague-Dawley rats were anesthetized with chloral hydrate and placed in a stereotactic apparatus. Kidney tissues were transplanted into three cortical areas adjacent to the right middle cerebral artery (MCA). Thirty minutes after grafting, the right MCA was transiently ligated for 90 minutes. Twenty-four hours after the onset of reperfusion, animals were evaluated behaviorally. It was found that the stroke animals that received adult kidney transplantation developed motor imbalance. However, animals that received fetal kidney grafts showed significant behavioral improvement. Animals were later sacrificed and brains were removed for triphenyltetrazolium chloride staining, Pax-2 immunostaining, and GDNF mRNA expression. It was noted that transplantation of fetal kidney but not adult kidney tissue greatly reduced the volume of infarction in the cerebral cortex. Fetal kidney grafts showed Pax-2 immunoreactivity and GDNF mRNA in the host cerebral cortex. In contrast, GDNF mRNA expression was not found in the adult kidney grafts. Taken together, our data indicate that fetal kidney transplantation reduces ischemia/reperfusion-induced cortical infarction and behavioral deficits in adult rats, and that such tissue grafts could serve as an unique cellular reservoir for trophic factor application to the brain.

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