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Melatonin-Secreting Pineal Gland: A Novel Tissue Source for Neural Transplantation Therapy in Stroke

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Chronic systemic melatonin treatment attenuates abnormalities produced by occlusion of middle cerebral artery (MCA) in adult rats. Because the pineal gland secretes high levels of melatonin, we examined in the present study whether transplantation of pineal gland exerted similar protective effects in MCA-occluded adult rats. Animals underwent same-day MCA occlusion and either intrastriatal transplantation of pineal gland (harvested from 2-month-old rats) or vehicle infusion. Behavioral tests (from day of surgery to 3 days posttransplantation) revealed that transplanted stroke rats displayed significantly less motor asymmetrical behaviors than vehicle-infused stroke rats. Histological analysis at 3 days posttransplantation revealed that transplanted stroke rats had significantly smaller cerebral infarction than vehicle-infused rats. Additional experiments showed that pinealectomy affected transplantation outcome, in that transplantation of pineal gland only protected against stroke-induced deficits in stroke animals with intact pineal gland, but not in pinealectomized stroke rats. Interestingly, nonpinealectomized vehicle-infused stroke rats, as well as pinealectomized transplanted stroke rats, had significantly lower melatonin levels in the cerebrospinal fluid than nonpinealectomized transplanted stroke rats. We conclude that intracerebral transplantation of pineal gland, in the presence of host intact pineal gland, protected against stroke, possibly through secretion of melatonin.

Keywords: Cerebral ischemia; Cerebrospinal fluid; Cognitive performance; Free radical scavenger; Locomotor behavior; Neuroprotection; Oxidative stress

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: *Neurology/Institute of Molecular Medicine & Genetics/School of Graduate Studies, Medical College of Georgia, Augusta, GA 2: ‡Psychology, University of Texas, El Paso, TX 3: §Physiology, Nagoya City University Medical School, Nagoya, Japan

Publication date: January 1, 2003

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  • Cell Transplantation publishes original, peer-reviewed research and review articles on the subject of cell transplantation and its application to human diseases. To ensure high-quality contributions from all areas of transplantation, separate section editors and editorial boards have been established. Articles deal with a wide range of topics including physiological, medical, preclinical, tissue engineering, and device-oriented aspects of transplantation of nervous system, endocrine, growth factor-secreting, bone marrow, epithelial, endothelial, and genetically engineered cells, among others. Basic clinical studies and immunological research papers are also featured. To provide complete coverage of this revolutionary field, Cell Transplantation will report on relevant technological advances, and ethical and regulatory considerations of cell transplants. Cell Transplantation is now an Open Access journal starting with volume 18 in 2009, and therefore there will be an inexpensive publication charge, which is dependent on the number of pages, in addition to the charge for color figures. This will allow work to be disseminated to a wider audience and also entitle the corresponding author to a free PDF, as well as prepublication of an unedited version of the manuscript.

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