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Neurobiol Dis. 2004 Jun;16(1):68-77.

Proactive transplantation of human neural stem cells prevents degeneration of striatal neurons in a rat model of Huntington disease.

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  • 1Brain Disease Research Center, Ajou University School of Medicine, Suwon, South Korea.


We have investigated the effectiveness of transplantation of human neural stem cells into adult rat striatum prior to induction of striatal damage with the mitochondrial toxin 3-nitropropionic acid (3-NP). Systemic 3-NP administration caused widespread neuropathological deficits similar to ones found in Huntington disease (HD) including impairment in motor function (rotarod balance test) and extensive degeneration of neuron-specific nuclear antigen (NeuN)(+) neurons, calbindin(+) neurons and glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD)(+) striatal neurons. Animals receiving intrastriatal implantation of human neural stem cells (hNSCs) 1 week before 3-NP treatments exhibited significantly improved motor performance and reduced damage to striatal neurons compared with control sham injections. In contrast, transplantation of hNSCs at 12 h after the initial 3-NP administration did not lead to any improvement in motor performance or protect striatal neurons from the 3-NP-induced toxicity. These results indicate that the presence of grafted hNSCs before 3-NP treatment is required for host striatal neuronal protection and enhanced motor function. Immunoreactivity of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) was found in vitro in cultured hNSCs and in vivo in grafted NSCs with expression and secretion of BDNF demonstrated by RT-PCR, immunocytochemistry, dot-blot, and ELISA analyses. Thus, protective effects of proactive transplantation of hNSCs may be due, in part, to effects mediated by BDNF. The findings in this work have particular relevance to a rat model of HD in that proactive transplanted hNSCs protect host striatal neurons against neuronal injury and improve motor impairment induced by 3-NP toxicity.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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