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PLoS One. 2011;6(10):e26577. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0026577. Epub 2011 Oct 24.

Development of a middle cerebral artery occlusion model in the nonhuman primate and a safety study of i.v. infusion of human mesenchymal stem cells.

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Department of Neurology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut, United States of America.



Most experimental stroke research is carried out in rodents, but given differences between rodents and human, nonhuman primate (NHP) models may provide a valuable tool to study therapeutic interventions. The authors developed a surgical method for transient occlusion of the M1 branch of middle cerebral artery (MCA) in the African green monkey to evaluate safety aspects of intravenous infusion of mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) derived from human bone marrow.


The left Sylvian fissure was exposed by a small fronto-temporal craniotomy. The M1 branch of the MCA was exposed by microsurgical dissection and clipped for 2 to 4 hours. Neurological examinations and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) were carried out at regular post-operative course. hMSCs were infused 1 hour after reperfusion (clip release) in the 3-hour occlusion model.


During M1 occlusion, two patterns of changes were observed in the lateral hemisphere surface. One pattern (Pattern 1) was darkening of venous blood, small vessel collapse, and blood pooling with no venous return in cortical veins. Animals with these three features had severe and lasting hemiplegia and MRI demonstrated extensive MCA territory infarction. Animals in the second pattern (Pattern 2) displayed darkening of venous blood, small vessel collapse, and reduced but incompletely occluded venous flow and the functional deficit was much less severe and MRI indicated smaller infarction areas in brain. The severe group (Pattern 1) likely had less extensive collateral circulation than the less severe group (Pattern 2) where venous pooling of blood was not observed. The hMSC infused animals showed a trend for greater functional improvement that was not statistically significant in the acute phase and no additive negative effects.


These results indicate inter-animal variability of collateral circulation after complete M1 occlusion and that hMSC infusion is safe in the developed NHP stroke model.

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