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Open Access Distribution, Differentiation, and Survival of Intravenously Administered Neural Stem Cells in a Rat Model of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

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The transplantation of neural stem cells (NSCs) is a challenging therapeutic strategy for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). To provide insight into the potential of the intravenous delivery of NSCs, we evaluated the delivery of NSCs marked with green fluorescent protein to the central nervous system (CNS) via intravenous tail vein injections in an ALS model. The injected cell fates were followed 1, 3, and 7 days after transplantation. The highest efficiency of cell delivery to the CNS was found in symptomatic ALS (up to 13%), moderate in presymptomatic ALS (up to 6%), and the lowest in wild-type animals (up to 0.3%). NSCs injected into ALS animals preferentially colonized the motor cortex, hippocampus, and spinal cord, and their differentiation was characterized by a decrease of nestin expression and the appearance of MAP2-, GFAP-, O4-, and CD68-positive cells. Tumor necrosis factor (TNF) administration increased the CNS delivery of transplanted cells in wild-type and presymptomatic, but not ALS symptomatic animals. Moreover, a TNF-related increase in NSC differentiation and survival was detected. Apoptosis was detected as the main cause of the loss of transplanted cells and it was influenced by TNF. Although 3 days after TNF treatment cell death was accelerated, TNF slowed down apoptosis after 7 days. This study provides elementary facts about the process occurring after NSCs leave the blood stream and enter the nervous tissue affected by inflammation/degeneration, which should help facilitate the planning of future bench-to-bedside translational projects.

Keywords: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS); Cell transplantation therapy; Neural stem cells; Rat; Tumor necrosis factor (TNF)

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Laboratory of Histology, Neuroanatomy and Neuropathology, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, Belgium; Laboratory for Neurogenetics and Developmental Genetics, Croatian Institute for Brain Research, University of Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia.

Publication date: 2010-05-01

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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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