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Brain. 1999 Dec;122 ( Pt 12):2321-35.

Primary CA1 and conditionally immortal MHP36 cell grafts restore conditional discrimination learning and recall in marmosets after excitotoxic lesions of the hippocampal CA1 field.

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Department of Psychology, ReNeuron Ltd, Institute of Psychiatry, London, UK.


Common marmosets (Callithrix jacchus, n = 18) were trained to discriminate between rewarded and non-rewarded objects (simple discriminations, SDs) and to make conditional discriminations (CDs) when presented sequentially with two different pairs of identical objects signifying reward either in the right or left food well of the Wisconsin General Test Apparatus. After bilateral N-methyl-D-aspartate (0.12 M) lesions through the cornu ammonis-1 (CA1) field (7 microl in five sites), marmosets showed profound impairment in recall of CDs but not SDs, and were assigned to lesion only, lesion plus CA1 grafts and lesion plus Maudsley hippocampal cell line, clone 36 (MHP36) grafts groups matched for lesion-induced impairment. Cell suspension grafts (4 microl, 15-25 000 cells/microl) of cells dissected from the CA1 region of foetal brain at embryonic day 94-96, or of conditionally immortalized MHP36 cells, derived from the H-2Kb-tsA58 transgenic mouse neuroepithelium and labelled with [3H]thymidine, were infused at the lesion sites. The lesion plus MHP36 grafts group was injected five times per week with cyclosporin A (10 mg/kg) throughout testing. Lesion, grafted and intact control marmosets (n = 4-5/group) were tested on recall of SDs and CDs learned before lesioning and on acquisition of four new CDs over a 6-month period. Lesioned animals were highly impaired in recall and acquisition of CD tasks, but recall of SDs was not significantly disrupted. Both grafted groups of marmosets showed improvement to control level in recall of CDs. They were significantly slower in learning the first new CD task, but mastered the remaining tasks as efficiently as controls and were substantially superior to the lesion-only group. Visualized by Nissl staining, foetal grafts formed clumps of pyramidal-like cells within the denervated CA1 field, or jutted into the lateral ventricles. MHP36 cells, identified by beta-galactosidase staining and autoradiography, showed neuronal and astrocytic morphology, and were distributed evenly throughout the CA1 region. The results indicate that MHP36 cell grafts are as functionally effective as foetal grafts and appear to integrate into the host brain in a structurally appropriate manner, showing the capacity to differentiate into both mature neurons and glia, and to develop morphologies appropriate to the site of migration. These findings, which parallel the facilitative effects of foetal and MHP36 grafts in rats with ischaemic CA1 damage, offer encouragement for the development of conditionally immortal neuroepithelial stem cell lines for grafting in conditions of severe amnesia and hippocampal damage following recovery from cardiac arrest or other global ischaemic episodes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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