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Stem Cell Res Ther. 2014 Nov 23;5(6):129. doi: 10.1186/scrt519.

Human neural stem cells rapidly ameliorate symptomatic inflammation in early-stage ischemic-reperfusion cerebral injury.



Clinically, a good deal of injury from stroke results from ischemic-reperfusion. There is a loss of cerebral parenchyma and its associated cells, disruption of neuronal connections, compromise of the blood-brain barrier, and inflammation. We tested whether exogenously engrafted human neural stem cells could migrate rapidly and extensively to damaged regions, following transplantation into a neurogenic site where migration cues are already underway during stroke onset, then counteract a number of these pathological processes.


One day post-injury, we injected human neural stem cells (hNSCs) into the ipsilesional hippocampus of a mouse model of stroke with middle cerebral artery occlusion to induce focal ischemia followed by reperfusion (MCAO/R). The time frame for hNSC transplantation corresponded to upregulation of endogenous proinflammatory cytokines. We examined the effect of hNSC transplantation on pathological processes and behavioral dysfunction 48 hours post-injury.


Twenty-four hours after transplantation, engrafted hNSCs had migrated extensively to the lesion, and infarct volume was reduced relative to MCAO/R controls. The behavioral deficits seen in MCAO/R controls were also significantly improved. Given this rapid response, we hypothesized that the mechanisms underlying therapeutic activity were anti-inflammatory rather than due to cell replacement. In support of this idea, in hNSC-transplanted mice we observed reduced microglial activation, decreased expression of proinflammatory factors (tumor necrosis factor-α, interleukin (IL)-6, IL-1β, monocyte chemotactic protein-1, macrophage inflammatory protein-1α) and adhesion molecules (intercellular adhesion molecule-1, vascular cell adhesion molecule-1), and amelioration of blood-brain barrier damage.


While long-term effects of engrafted hNSCs on the amelioration of ischemic stroke-induced behavioral dysfunction in a rodent model have been reported, our study is the first to show rapid, beneficial impacts on behavioral function (within 24 hours) upon early delivery of hNSCs into the hippocampus.

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