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Mol Med Rep. 2014 Nov;10(5):2299-305. doi: 10.3892/mmr.2014.2502. Epub 2014 Aug 20.

Effect of bone marrow stromal cell transplantation on neurologic function and expression of VEGF in rats with focal cerebral ischemia.

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Department of Neurology, The First Bethune Hospital of Jilin University, Changchun, Jilin 130021, P.R. China.
The Otolaryngology Research Institute, The First Bethune Hospital of Jilin University, Changchun, Jilin 130021, P.R. China.
Department of Neurology, The Fourth Hospital of Harbin Medical University, Harbin, Heilongjiang 150001, P.R. China.
Amphixenosis Research Institute, Jilin University, Changchun, Jilin 130000, P.R. China.


There is evidence that the transplantation of mesenchymal stem cells into rat models of cerebral ischemia reduces ischemic damage; however, the mechanism remains to be elucidated. The present study aimed to assess the effect of transplantation of human bone marrow stromal cells (hBMSCs) on neurologic function and the expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in a rat model of focal cerebral ischemia. The left middle cerebral artery of adult Wistar rats was occluded for 90 min using a nylon thread, followed by reperfusion for 1 h. hBMSCs labeled with 5-bromo-2-deoxyuridine (BrdU) were stereotaxically injected into the ischemic boundary zone. Behavioral analysis using the Neurological Severity Score (NSS) was conducted on days 1, 3, 7 and 28, and a histologic evaluation was performed simultaneously. VEGF was detected by immunofluorescence staining and western blot analysis. Fifty rats were divided equally into five groups: Normal control, sham‑operated, operated (no transplantation), Dulbecco's medium Eagle's medium (DMEM)-injected (received only serum-free DMEM), and hBMSC-transplanted. The hBMSC-transplanted group showed significantly improved behavioral recovery compared with the operated and DMEM-transplanted groups on days 3, 7 and 28. Histological examination showed that transplanted cells migrated from the injection site into nearby areas including the cortex. Expression of VEGF was significantly greater in the hBMSC group compared with the other four groups on each assessment day. The expression of VEGF was found to be beneficial for functional recovery following cerebral ischemic injury and hBMSC transplantation stimulated the expression of VEGF. Transplantation of BMSCs may be a promising therapeutic strategy for treating cerebral infarction.

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