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Cancer Res. 2011 Jul 15;71(14):4834-45. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-11-0027. Epub 2011 Jul 14.

Human neural stem cell transplantation ameliorates radiation-induced cognitive dysfunction.

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  • 1Department of Radiation Oncology, University of California, Irvine, Irvine, CA 92697, USA.


Cranial radiotherapy induces progressive and debilitating declines in cognition that may, in part, be caused by the depletion of neural stem cells. The potential of using stem cell replacement as a strategy to combat radiation-induced cognitive decline was addressed by irradiating athymic nude rats followed 2 days later by intrahippocampal transplantation with human neural stem cells (hNSC). Measures of cognitive performance, hNSC survival, and phenotypic fate were assessed at 1 and 4 months after irradiation. Irradiated animals engrafted with hNSCs showed significantly less decline in cognitive function than irradiated, sham-engrafted animals and acted indistinguishably from unirradiated controls. Unbiased stereology revealed that 23% and 12% of the engrafted cells survived 1 and 4 months after transplantation, respectively. Engrafted cells migrated extensively, differentiated along glial and neuronal lineages, and expressed the activity-regulated cytoskeleton-associated protein (Arc), suggesting their capability to functionally integrate into the hippocampus. These data show that hNSCs afford a promising strategy for functionally restoring cognition in irradiated animals.

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