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Open Access Assessment of Neuroprotective Effects of Human Umbilical Cord Blood Mononuclear Cell Subpopulations In Vitro and In Vivo

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Experimental transplantation of human umbilical cord blood (hUCB) mononuclear cells (MNCs) in rodent stroke models revealed the therapeutic potential of these cells. However, effective cells within the heterogeneous MNC population and their modes of action are still under discussion. MNCs and MNC fractions enriched (CD34+) or depleted (CD34) for CD34-expressing stem/progenitor cells were isolated from hUCB. Cells were transplanted intravenously following middle cerebral artery occlusion in spontaneously hypertensive rats and directly or indirectly cocultivated with hippocampal slices previously subjected to oxygen and glucose deprivation. Application of saline solution or a human T-cell line served as controls. In vivo, MNCs, CD34+ and CD34 cells reduced neurofunctional deficits and diminished lesion volume as determined by magnetic resonance imaging. MNCs were superior to other fractions. However, human cells could not be identified in brain tissue 29 days after stroke induction. Following direct application on postischemic hippocampal slices, MNCs reduced neural damage throughout a 3-day observation period. CD34+ cells provided transient protection for 2 days. The CD34 fraction, in contrast to in vivo results, failed to reduce neural damage. Direct cocultivation of MNCs was superior to indirect cocultivation of equal cell numbers. Indirect application of up to 10-fold MNC concentrations enhanced neuroprotection to a level comparable to direct cocultivation. After direct application, MNCs migrated into the slices. Flow cytometric analysis of migrated cells revealed that the CD34+ cells within MNCs were preferably attracted by damaged hippocampal tissue. Our study suggests that MNCs provide the most prominent neuroprotective effect, with CD34+ cells seeming to be particularly involved in the protective action of MNCs. CD34+ cells preferentially home to neural tissue in vitro, but are not superior concerning the overall effect, implying that there is another, still undiscovered, protective cell population. Furthermore, MNCs did not survive in the ischemic brain for longer periods without immunosuppression.

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Keywords: Cell therapy; Cell transplantation; Human umbilical cord blood (hUCB); Magnetic resonance imaging; Neuroprotection; Stroke

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Fraunhofer Institute for Cell Therapy and Immunology, Leipzig, Germany

Publication date: 2012-04-01

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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.

    Cell Transplantation is now being published by SAGE. Please visit their website for the most recent issues.

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